Adams, who founded the franchise as the Houston Oilers in 1959, played a major role in the formation of the American Football League (AFL) and was also pivotal in its eventual merger with the NFL.
A team statement revealed that Adams died peacefully of natural causes, and Goodell was quick to offer his views on the long-term owner.
"Bud Adams played a pivotal role in the growth of pro football as a pioneer and innovator," Goodell said in a statement. "As a founding owner of the American Football League that began play in 1960, Bud saw the potential of pro football and brought the game to new cities and new heights of popularity, first in Houston and then in Nashville.
"He was a brilliant entrepreneur with a terrific sense of humour that helped lighten many a tense meeting. His commitment to the best interests of the game and league was unwavering, and his personal along with the team's impact in community relations and philanthropy set a standard for the NFL.
"Bud was truly a gift to the NFL. We extend our deepest sympathy to his daughters Susan and Amy, and the entire family."
At the time of his death, Adams had more wins than any other current NFL owner with 409.