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Longtime Oilers/Titans Owner Bud Adams Named a Semifinalist in the Coach/Contributor Category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023


NASHVILLE – Long-time Oilers/Titans owner Bud Adams is one of 29 semifinalists in the coach/contributor category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2023, it was announced on Thursday.

C.O. Brocato, who scouted for the franchise for 45 years, is also up for Hall of Fame consideration.

Former Oilers star Billy "White Shoes" Johnson is one of 25 semifinalists for one of the three senior candidate spots.

Adams and Lamar Hunt co-founded the AFL to rival the NFL, before the two leagues eventually merged. In fact, the formation of the AFL was announced in Adams' Houston office in 1959

Hunt, long-time owner of the Chiefs who started an AFL team in Dallas, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. Another one of the members of the self-appointed "Foolish Club," Bills owner Ralph Wilson, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

In addition to his role in forming the AFL, Adams convinced Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon to play in the AFL, and his aggressive spending helped give the upstart league instant credibility.

In 2008, Adams received the inaugural Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, which recognized his vision and his role in helping the NFL reach preeminent status.

Adams was the founder and owner of the Oilers/Titans for 53-plus years (1960-2012).

Over the years his team produced 21 playoff seasons, two AFL Championships (1960 & 61), an AFC Championship win (1999), four AFC Championship Game Appearances, and a Super Bowl appearance (XXXIV). The 21 playoff appearances between 1960-2012 ranked eighth among NFL teams during that period.

The organization has produced 17 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In an interview with The Tennessean in 2013, the Titans owner wondered if he'd ever join football's hallowed halls. Adams passed away later that same year.

"Besides the playoffs, one thing I would like to accomplish is to be considered in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,'' Adams said. "I realize there may be some hard feelings about me moving the team to Nashville, but I truly feel my body of work…

"I don't like tooting my own horn. But at my age, and now being the senior NFL owner, there is no one from back in those days than can really speak up for me now."

Adams was one of 10 contributor finalists for the Centennial Class of 2020.


In addition to Adams and Brocato, Roone Arledge, Don Coryell, Otho Davis, Ralph Hay, Mike Holmgren, Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, Eddie Kotal, Robert Kraft, Rich McKay, John McVay, Art Modell, Clint Murchison Jr., Buddy Parker, Carl Peterson, Dan Reeves, Lee Remmel, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Jerry Seeman, Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy, Seymour Siwoff, Amy Trask, Jim Tunney, Jack Vainisi, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten are also among the 29 semifinalists who advance to the next round of consideration.

The respective selection committees now will consider the candidates and vote to send 12 Seniors and 12 Coach/Contributors through to the Finalists stage. The results of those reduction votes will be announced July 27.

The Seniors Committee will meet Aug. 16 to select up to three Seniors for final consideration as members of the Class of 2023.

Coach/Contributor Committee members will meet Aug. 23 to select one Coach or Contributor for final consideration for the Class of 2023.


Here's a list of short bios on each of the 54 Semifinalists, courtesy of the Hall of Fame:


Ken Anderson (Quarterback, 1971-1986): A four-time pro-bowler who started at quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1971-1986.

Maxie Baughan (Linebacker, 1960-1970, 1974): A nine-time Pro-Bowler, Baughan played linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles (1960-65), the Los Angeles Rams (1966-1970) and the Washington Redskins (1974).

Mark Clayton (Wide Receiver, 1983-1993): Five-time Pro-Bowler who played 10 seasons with the Dolphins (1979-1992) and one season with the Green Bay Packers (1993).

Roger Craig (Running Back, 1983-1993): A do-it-all running back, Craig was the first NFL player to total 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. He spent eight seasons with the 49ers (1983-1990), one with the Los Angeles Raiders (1991) and two with the Minnesota Vikings (1992-93).

LaVern Dilweg (End, 1926-1934): A star defensive end turned politician, Dilweg was named first-team All-Pro for his first five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He played for the Milwaukee Badgers (1926) and the Green Bay Packers (1927-1934).

Randy Gradishar (Linebacker, 1974-1983): Centerpiece of the "Orange Crush Defense," Gradishar played all 10 seasons as linebacker for the Denver Broncos, seven of which were Pro Bowl-caliber years.

Lester Hayes (Cornerback, 1977-1986): Known as "The Judge," Hayes was a five-time Pro Bowler for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, spending his entire 10-year career with the organization.

Chris Hinton (Guard/Tackle, 1983-1995): Named to seven Pro Bowls and recognized as a two-time first-team All-Pro, Hinton played with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (1983-89), Atlanta Falcons (1990-93) and the Minnesota Vikings (1994-95).

Chuck Howley (Linebacker, 1958-59, 1961-1973): Being the only player on a losing team to win Super Bowl MVP (Super Bowl VI), Howley received six Pro Bowl selections and five first-team All-Pro selections while playing for the Chicago Bears (1958-59) and the Dallas Cowboys (1961-1973).

Cecil Isbell (Tailback/Defensive Back/Halfback, 1938-1942): Of Isbell's five playing years with the Green Bay Packers (1938-1942), he had four Pro Bowl appearances.

Joe Jacoby (Tackle, 1981-1993): During his 13-year tenure with the Washington Redskins (1981-1993), Jacoby won three Super Bowls and was named to the Pro Bowl for four consecutive years (1983-86).

Billie "White Shoes" Johnson (Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner, 1974-1980, 1982-88): During his 14-year NFL career (Houston Oilers, 1974-1980; Atlanta Falcons, 1982-87; Washington Redskins, 1988), Johnson accumulated three Pro Bowl selections and is most famously known for his endzone celebrations.

Mike Kenn (Tackle, 1978-1994): A former first-round draft pick, this University of Michigan product played his entire 17-year career with the Atlanta Falcons and racked up five Pro Bowl selections and two first-team All-Pro selections.

Joe Klecko (Defensive End/Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle, 1977-1988): A member of the famed "New York Sack Exchange," this defensive powerhouse had four Pro Bowl selections and two first-team All-Pro honors in his 12-year NFL career, all spent with the New York Jets.

Bob Kuechenberg (Guard/Tackle/Center, 1970-1983): A member of the Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame and a six-time Pro Bowler, Kuechenberg spent the entirety of his 14-year career as a member of the Dolphins.

George Kunz (Tackle, 1969-1978, 1980): One of the premier offensive linemen of his generation. Kunz was named to the Pro Bowl seven times in his career and received three first-team All-Pro honors. He won Offensive Lineman of the Year in back-to-back years (1976, 1977). He played for the Atlanta Falcons (1969-1974) and the Baltimore Colts (1975-1980).

Jim Marshall (Defensive End, 1960-1979): After starting his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, Marshall was traded to Minnesota, where he would play the next 19 seasons without missing a game. Marshall's 282 consecutive games played are the most by a defensive player, and his streak is 58 games longer than the next closest defensive lineman. A member of the Vikings famed "Purple People Eaters" defensive front, Marshall earned two Pro Bowl selections.

Clay Matthews Jr. (Linebacker, 1978-1996): Matthews made four Pro Bowl appearances for the Cleveland Browns in the 1980s. He led the NFL in forced fumbles in 1983 and earned a place in the Browns' Ring of Honor. He finished his career with the Atlanta Falcons, where he became the oldest player to record a sack in NFL history at the age of 40 years, 282 days.

Eddie Meador (Cornerback, 1959-1970): Meador played his entire career with the Los Angeles Rams, where he earned selection to two first-team All-Pro teams and six Pro Bowls. He is a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s. He finished his career with 46 interceptions, which remains a Rams franchise record.

Stanley Morgan (Wide Receiver, 1977-1990): Morgan posted the most yards per reception (19.2) in NFL history among players with more than 500 career receptions and he made four Pro Bowls with the New England Patriots. He is still New England's all-time leader in receiving yards (10,352). He played his final NFL season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Tommy Nobis (Linebacker, 1966-1976): Nobis was the first player the expansion Atlanta Falcons drafted and played his entire career in Atlanta. He won NFL Rookie of the Year, played in five Pro Bowls, selected first-team All-Pro (1967) and is a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s.

Ken Riley (Cornerback, 1969-1983): Riley played his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals and recorded 65 career interceptions, more than any other player not already in the Hall of Fame and the most by a player who saw action exclusively at cornerback. He was named first-team All-Pro in his final season.

Sterling Sharpe (Wide Receiver, 1988-1994): Sharpe made five Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro teams during his seven-year career with the Green Bay Packers. His 18 touchdown receptions in his final season is still good for third best all-time.

Otis Taylor (Wide Receiver, 1965-1975): Taylor won a Super Bowl IV ring with the Kansas City Chiefs, earned two Pro Bowl selections, two first-team All-Pro selections, an AFL All-Star selection and won two AFL Championships during his 10-year career. He led the AFL in touchdown receptions in 1967 and the NFL in receiving yards in 1971.

Everson Walls (Cornerback, 1981-1993): Playing most of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, Walls made three first-team All-Pro teams, four Pro Bowls and led the NFL in interceptions three times while in Dallas. He finished his career with the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns and helped New York to victory in Super Bowl XXV.


K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr.: In his 54 years as Founder, Owner, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Titans/Oilers franchise, Adams was an enduring figure in the NFL.

Roone Arledge: Television industry executive and producer whose creativity, leadership and technical innovations revolutionized the presentation of both news and sports.

C.O. Brocato: A scout for 40 years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans.

Don Coryell: An innovative coach whose "Air Coryell" offense produced some of the most dynamic passing attacks in NFL history.

Otho Davis: Served as associate athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts in 1971 and the head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973 to 1995.

Ralph Hay: Owner of the Canton Bulldogs from 1918-1922 and hosted the NFL's formational meeting in his automobile dealership in downtown Canton.

Mike Holmgren: Head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1992-98 and the Seattle Seahawks from 1999-2008.

Frank "Bucko" Kilroy: Worked in player personnel and scouting for the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. He was the Patriots' general manager from 1979 to 1982 and vice president from 1983 to 1993.

Eddie Kotal: Scout for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947-1961 and was one of the first to scout Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Robert Kraft: Owner, Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots since 1994. His teams have won six Super Bowls.

Rich McKay: General Manager, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1994-2003; general manager, Atlanta Falcons, 2003-08; president/CEO, Atlanta Falcons, 2008-present.

John McVay: Joined the 49ers in 1979 as the team's director of player personnel and spent 21 seasons with the Club, ultimately presiding over five Super Bowl-winning seasons as vice president/director of football operations.

Art Modell: Owner of the Cleveland Browns from 1961-1995 and Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2011.

Clint Murchison Jr.: Founder of the Dallas Cowboys (1960) and owner through 1983.

Buddy Parker: Head coach of the Chicago Cardinals (1949), Detroit Lions (1951-56) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1957-1964).

Carl Peterson: President, General Manager and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989-2008.

Dan Reeves: Head coach of the Denver Broncos (1981-1992), New York Giants (1993-96) and the Atlanta Falcons (1997-2003).

Lee Remmel: A sportswriter and columnist for the Green Bay Press-Gazette for 29 years, Green Bay Packers director of public relations from 1974 to 2004 and Packers historian from 2004-07.

Art Rooney Jr.: Employed with the Steelers since 1961, from 1964 through 1986, worked in the Steelers' Scouting Department. Currently a Steelers Vice President and member of the Board of Directors.

Marty Schottenheimer: Head coach of the Cleveland Browns (1984-88), Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1998), Washington Redskins (2001) and the San Diego Chargers (2002-06).

Jerry Seeman: Line Judge, Head Linesman, Referee and Director of Officiating from 1975-2000.

Mike Shanahan: Head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders (1988-89), Denver Broncos (1995-2008) and the Washington Redskins (2010-13).

Clark Shaughnessy: Head coach of the Los Angeles Rams from 1948-49 and longtime assistant coach for the Washington Redskins from 1944-47 and Chicago Bears from 1951-1962.

Seymour Siwoff: Owner and President of Elias Sports Bureau, the official statisticians of the NFL, from 1952-2019.

Amy Trask: CEO of the Oakland Raiders from 1997-2013.

Jim Tunney: NFL official from 1960-1991. Worked as a Field Judge from 1960-67 and a Referee from 1968-1991.

Jack Vainisi: Scout for the Green Bay Packers from 1950-1960 as well as Business Manager from 1959-1960.

Lloyd Wells: Scout for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963-1974. First full-time African American scout in the NFL.


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