After the NFL signed off on the 1997 move of Bud Adams’ franchise from Houston to Nashville, Adams was typically an ally of commissioners Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell.
Adams’ more rabble-rousing days as an NFL owner predated the start of my connection with the team in 1996.
But from then forward, he was not particularly active in league matters and the commissioner could count on his support in matters of importance.
It was my understanding that Adams had an agreement with Tagliabue, that once the league approved the relocation, the commissioner could count on Adams to back him.
Many close to the situation believed there was, at least, a tacit agreement. We’ve wondered if Tommy Smith, heading up ownership since Adams died, would also be subject to it.
Smith, Adams’ son-in-law, took over as the team’s CEO and president shortly after Adams passed away in October 2013.
In a chat with The Wake Up Zone in Nashville Wednesday morning, Smith said there was no such deal.
“That’s not true, that’s not true at all,” Smith said of the idea that Adams had such a deal. “Bud was a very loyal owner as far as the league is concerned. If he had an issue or objected to something, he would make his point known. No, there was none of that.”
Smith is still new at his job. We’re still getting a feel for how he will run the team, though early indications have been positive.
Fans seem encouraged by his purposeful talk of his dedication to reviving a franchise that had gone stale. And while I wouldn’t expect criticism from his employees, many have told me about how the vibe in team headquarters has improved under his leadership.
How he will vote on important league matters remains to be seen.
But to hear him tell it, he won’t automatically align with the commissioner on important matters because of any carry over of any pre-existing deal.