NASHVILLE – Long-time Oilers/Titans owner Bud Adams is one of 10 finalists in the contributor category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Centennial class, it was announced on Thursday.
Next month, the Hall of Fame's Blue-Ribbon Panel will elect 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches to the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.
Here's a look at those eligible in the contributor category:
CONTRIBUTORS (10 FINALISTS) – An individual other than a player or coach
- Bud Adams, Owner – 1960-2013 Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Titans
- Ralph Hay, Owner – 1918-1922 Canton Bulldogs
- Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, Scout/General Manager/Executive – 1960-61 Philadelphia Eagles, 1962-64 Washington
- Redskins, 1965-1970 Dallas Cowboys, 1971-2006 New England Patriots
- Art McNally, Official/Administrator – 1959-2015 National Football League
- Art Modell, Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens
- Clint Murchison, Founder/Owner – 1960-1983 Dallas Cowboys
- Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 NFL Films
- Seymour Siwoff, Owner/President – 1952-2019 Elias Sports Bureau
- Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
- George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
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 (1960-12).
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 11 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."
Per the Hall of Fame, the group of nominees has been reduced to a list of finalists that will be debated in a meeting in early January and voted on by the Blue-Ribbon Panel to elect the 15-member "Centennial Slate" to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those new enshrinees will be revealed in the days following the vote.
The entire 20-person Class of 2020 will be on hand for the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. The group of Modern-Era players along with contributors and coaches will be formally enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 8. The 10 seniors will take center stage in the once-in-every-other-lifetime Centennial Celebration in Canton on Sept. 16-19, 2020 when they are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.