John McClain had the latest of his many love letters to Bud Adams inside yesterday's Chron. The excuse for this one revolved around this being the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Football League.
Reading this article, I had several thoughts, the first being that I thought the Chron mandate that its writers suck up to sports ownership and management extended only to current owners, and at that, only to current owners not named Les Alexander. It also got me to really missing Ed Fowler who used to call out Adams at every opportunity for being cheap, and for being an idiot, and generally for just being an all-around bad guy.
I would just love to see his face right now as he's reading about the greatness of Bud Adams. (But then again, back in Fowler's days with the Chron, the writers had guts. Anybody remember Dale Robertson getting into a fight with Dan Pastorini, or Fran Blinebury fighting with Ladd Herzeg? That would never happen now.)
But I've got to confess, I learned a lot from McClain's ode to Bud. For instance, I didn't know that Bud Adams was the greatest person to ever live. And I always thought Lamar Hunt was the driving force behind the AFL -- I mean, I've read books about the AFL (or dealing partly with the AFL), and when it comes to the league's founding and early existence, most of the pages are devoted to Hunt and to Hunt's vision. So I really hope that the writers of all of those books read McClain's article because they've got some major revisions that need to be handled, and need to be handled quick.
Then again, maybe it's all my fault. Maybe I just have a faulty memory.
I seem to remember that back in the late `80s, Bud threatened to move the Oilers to Jacksonville unless the Astrodome was torn up and remade to suit him. And then I remember Bud promising that he would deliver a Super Bowl to Houston if the Dome scoreboard was torn out and replaced by seats. And I remember that Bud got his wish and the Dome was torn apart. I also remember that while the taxpayers were still paying off the bonds that were needed for the reshaping of the Dome, Bud came out and demanded a brand-new stadium because the Dome wasn't good enough.
Then Bud took his toys and abandoned the Dome despite the fact we were still paying for his demands from in the `80s. And he never did get us that Super Bowl.
I must have misremembered all of that, because none of that is to be found in McClain's story. Instead, McClain tells us that Bud was responsible for Joe Namath playing with the Jets and saving the AFL. And there's a funny story about Bud trying to hire Tom Landry to be the first coach of the Oilers because Bud thought it was important that the Oilers be champions.
There's nothing in the story about Bud's penchant for firing coaches who had success with the team.
But I'm perhaps most puzzled by this thought: If Bud is such a damn great visionary, then why isn't he in the Hall of Fame?
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Lamar Hunt is, after all. And Ralph Wilson, the owner of the Buffalo Bills, was just inducted this past weekend. Al Davis, the owner of the Raiders, is the in the Hall of Fame. But not Bud Adams.
And according to McClain, the AFL would never have been were it not for Bud. So if he's such a great, then why isn't he in the Hall?
It can't be because McClain is a toady, so it must be that everybody else associated with professional football and the Hall of Fame just don't know what they're doing.
They just don't know Bud. Not like John McClain knows Bud.