Texas seemed to have let bygones be bygones when it welcomed Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams into the state's Sports Hall of Fame Monday night along with seven others.
Adams who closed shop in Houston and moved the Oilers east of the Mississippi River in 1997 was very unpopular for a number of years in the Lone Star State after that. He founded the franchise in 1959 as the Houston Oilers as one of the original owners of the American Football League.
Perhaps the dawning of the Houston Texans as a bonafide NFL draw helped melt cold shoulders and opened the door for Adams' induction this week.
“This is a special event, and I want to thank everyone for having me here,” Adams told the Houston Chronicle. “The Hall of Fame is very impressive. It's an honor to be included with so many who've made this great state what it is when it comes to sports A lot of my players and coaches, like Bum Phillips, Earl Campbell, Elvin Bethea, Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews, have already been inducted. To be included with them is a privilege for me.”
Though his team left Houston, Adams still stands alongside former Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt in first bringing professional football to Texas.
“I remember so well those early discussions with my great friend, Lamar Hunt, as we talked about starting up a new league when we both were unable to buy the Chicago Cardinals,” Adams said during his speech. “People called us the ‘Foolish Club’ but we were determined to make it work.”
The Oilers played in the AFL championship game four times (1960, 1961, 1962, 1967), winning back-to-back titles in 1960 and 1961. But later, despite great talents like Campbell, Matthews and Warren Moon, the Oilers couldn't win an NFL Championship.
“We had some lean years but we also can proudly state that we made the playoffs during each of our five decades, including one stretch where we made them seven consecutive years beginning in 1987 with Warren Moon leading the way,” he said.
It wasn't until playing the first season in Nashville did Adams see his franchise get to the Super Bowl, but the Titans were not part of Monday's induction ceremony, and there was no talk of Tennessee that night.
Instead, Adams shared the spotlight with others inducted into the Class of 2010, which included Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman, former Dallas Cowboys running back and longtime NFL coach Dan Reeves; former Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley; former Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin; Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey; former Baylor All-America receiver Lawrence Elkins; and Max Williams, who brought pro basketball to the state of Texas.