Where Are They Now

Where Are They Now: Carl McAdams

Catch Up with the 1966 Draft Pick from Oklahoma


The first rule when the NFL and AFL were vying for college players in the early 1960s was there are no rules.

Teams banded together in their battle against the other league by allowing some leeway during their drafts. Which may explain how the Jets were able to choose Oklahoma's two-time All-America linebacker Carl McAdams in the third round of the 1966 AFL Draft.

"Actually, I was drafted with the first choice by the Jets. We'd already made our agreements on what was going to be done, my pay and everything," McAdams said. "And they came to me and said, 'Would it bother you to be the third-round choice?

"'And we'll tell you why. This guy, a tackle from Michigan (William Yearby), we're having a hard time trying to get him to sign with us. And we think we can get him to sign with us if we tell him that he's the No. 1.' And I said, 'Yeah, that would be fine.'"

Also chosen by St. Louis in the first round of the NFL Draft, what led McAdams to go with New York?

"Well, the pay. What the Jets offered me was more than what the St. Louis Cardinals did. And actually, they were more personable than St. Louis was," McAdams said. "(Joe) Namath was the (first-round choice the) year before, and they sold me on the fact that they felt Namath was going to lead them to great things. They convinced me that the Jets were going to be the thing."

Prior to reporting for training camp, McAdams suffered a season-long setback before he could help the Jets become "the thing" when he injured an ankle while in Chicago for the College All-Star Game.

"I had the injury before the game," McAdams said. "After I was released from the hospital, I talked with the Jets and told them I'd like to go home before I came up there. And when I got to my hometown, I went to the doctor because my ankle was killing me. He unwrapped the wraps from my ankle and started wrapping it up again. He said, 'I can't take care of this. You need to get somewhere in a hurry. You've got problems' I had staph infection.

"And so, I called the Jets and they told me to get there immediately. I flew to New York and I was put in the Lenox Hill Hospital, and I was in there for five or six weeks trying to get the infection out. All my toes on my left foot were all dried up. It looked like a claw. But anyway, I had seven operations on my left ankle."

Unable to play during his rookie season, McAdams contributed in another way, as the Jets' answer Mayberry's Sarah, the telephone operator who connected calls for Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee, and Goober.

"I sat on the bench during the games and had the telephone up to (the coaches in) the press box," McAdams said. "They would tell me who they needed to talk to and I'd get them and put them on the telephone. I guess our telephone system wasn't as good back then as it is now."

McAdams was healthy enough to suit up in 1967. However, it ended up being at a position he wasn't familiar with – defensive tackle.

"I had played linebacker, but we were at practice and we were weak at defensive tackle because of injuries," McAdams said. "And I just ran out and jumped in at defensive tackle. I was playing over (veteran guard) Dave Herman, and he went to the coaches and said, 'You need to look at him at tackle.'"

The coaches took a look and liked what they saw and put him on the line for passing downs.

"I played defensive tackle and defensive end the year we won the Super Bowl (III over the Baltimore Colts) and I weighed 229 pounds," McAdams said. "Nobody ever knew how good our defense was. We were rated No. 1 defensively in the league, and, of course, Namath had us at the top in the offense.

"And when we went to the Super Bowl, there was no mention about our defense. The only thing we heard was that the Colts' defense was going to tear our offense up. But it was actually the other way around. Our defense tore their offense up. That 16-7 score was the greatest thing that I'd ever seen in my life."

The final score isn't the only special memory that McAdams has from that Super Bowl Sunday.

"Of course, winning it was outstanding. But when I was 13 or 14 years old, my hero was (Colts quarterback) Johnny Unitas. And I never will forget when I was out on the field and heard over the loudspeaker, 'And Johnny Unitas enters the game.' I just thought, 'Oh, my gosh, he's going to come in and kick our butts,'" McAdams laughed. "And he's the one got them the one score that they got. But he was not the Johnny Unitas that I remembered. He was a lot older and he had had injuries all year.

"That was a big moment, having my hero from when I was a kid and I on the same field. That really felt good. I don't know what kind of person he was, except that he was an outstanding football player. But he really made me feel good when I told him that (he was a hero of mine as a kid) after the game."

With 1969 being his final season, McAdams' early injury was ultimately and unfortunately the reason why his career's start and finish line were too close together.

"I was really disappointed in what happened to me, that I couldn't play linebacker. That I lost my speed and quickness because of my ankle," McAdams said. "It really felt good to get to play in the Super Bowl and helping the Jets, but I never did get over the fact that I never played linebacker.

"At that time, I felt I was as good as any linebacker there was. I was right behind Dick Butkus, he signed the year before with Chicago. And Tommy Nobis, I played against him. I felt I was as good as either one of those, and I never did get to prove it."

Following his playing days, McAdams returned home to Oklahoma and proved to be a successful businessman.

"I was an independent insurance agent, but I worked with State Farm," said McAdams, who retired in 2014. "When I got the job, I lived about 14 miles from (the office in) Antlers, and never moved from the house. I stayed there for 32 years and finished that job.

"And one of my sons is a State Farm agent now in Ardmore, Oklahoma. State Farm has been good to us for quite a while after the Super Bowl."

McAdams and his wife, Margaret, are now making their home in Atoka County, Oklahoma. They have three sons: Mac, Joe, and Jay; and five grandchildren.