The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. It will be a game between righteously-named teams, but whatever the outcome, it should be known which team’s owner has the most integrity.
In 1960, Lamar Hunt founded the AFL, and moved the Dallas Texans to Kansas City. He renamed them the Kansas City Chiefs. They have changed stadiums once, but have never left town. That same year, Bud Adams joined the league as an owner and founded a charter team in the Houston Oilers. They have resided in six different stadiums since, including four since the 1978 merger.
The biggest reason why Arrowhead Stadium exists is because of Kansas City Athletics‘ Charlie Finley (MLB baseball owner) moving his team to Oakland, CA in 1967. The franchises had shared Memorial Stadium in downtown KC until the A’s departure. Arrowhead’s construction began the following year, and was completed in 1972. It has been the home of the Chiefs ever since, through good times and bad.
The same can’t be said for Adams and the Oilers. He moved his team to Tennessee in 1997. Even after leaving the Houston Astrodome for the Volunteer State, Bud couldn’t find a satisfactory home.
The “Eighth Wonder of the World” (as the Astrodome was dubbed) wasn’t good enough. Neither was the largest stadium in Nashville at the time. The new stadium wasn’t going to be completed for two years. Vanderbilt Stadium would seat 41,000 — that wasn’t good enough either.
The Tennessee Oilers essentially played 16 road games in their first two seasons at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis. They could’ve played in Knoxville’s 102,000 seat Neyland Stadium, which was closer, but Adams thought it was too big to sell out.
Lamar has passed on, and the Chiefs are now fronted by his son, Clark Hunt. Don’t get me wrong — the Hunt family is in this business for the money, but they care about Kansas City. When Arrowhead Stadium’s remodel was up for a close taxpayer vote in 2007, the Hunt family doubled their original contribution to stay in town from $25 to $50 million.
Bud is still the sole owner, CEO, chairmen and president of the now Titans. He’s digging for oil in Tennessee, but don’t think he’s not looking elsewhere. I hear Los Angeles is looking for a team.
People in Nashville should recognize this Gatlin Brothers lyric … “They say there’s gold in California … ” See ya on Sunday, Titans.