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Matt Bahr kicked the Giants to Super Bowl XXV with a concussion

mattbahr Getty Images

Today’s reminder of how much attitudes toward concussions have changed in the NFL comes from former Giants tight end Mark Bavarro, who offered up a memory of a teammate who continued playing and won a game after suffering a concussion.

Matt Bahr, the Giants kicker who led his team to Super Bowl XXV with five field goals in a 15-13 victory in the NFC Championship Game after the 1990 season, made his 42-yarder as time expired after suffering a concussion earlier in the game. Bavarro recalled that Bahr wasn’t all there as he staggered onto the field for the game’s final play.

“Matt Bahr, when he kicked the winning field goal against San Francisco in 1990, I don’t think he knew where he was,” Bavaro told reporters today, via the Star-Ledger. “He’d tackled somebody on a kickoff return earlier in the game and he was kind of out of it. [Giants long snapper] Steve DeOssie had to kind of, actually, guide him on the field and line it up. But you know, that was regular stuff back then. Matt was a great guy, a tough guy, and we certainly appreciated him coming out and doing that for us. But I don’t think that stuff happens today.”

DeOssie has told a similar story in the past, including for the book The Most Memorable Games in Giants History: The Oral History of a Legendary Team.

“Matt had had to make a tackle or two in that game on kickoffs and his head was ringing,” DeOssie said. “He might’ve had a concussion or something. He wasn’t completely of sound mind. When they called the timeout to kind of slow him down at the last field goal, I came up to him and he was a little woozy because of the kickoff tackle that he made.”

In 1990, the idea that a player would be held out — with the Super Bowl on the line — just because of a concussion was unthinkable. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about the need to change the culture, he’s talking about some of the great moments in NFL history like Bahr’s kick, one that under today’s concussion standards he never would have been allowed to make.

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35 Responses to “Matt Bahr kicked the Giants to Super Bowl XXV with a concussion”
  1. pigskin28 says: May 15, 2012 8:33 PM

    This is just ridiculous. If these kickers can.t take one hit without suffering a concussion, then kick the darn ball and run off the field or eliminate the position

  2. ttommytom says: May 15, 2012 8:43 PM

    That was the 5th best game of the Supet Bowl era, for Giants fans. I still have it on vhs or 8 track or whatever…classic…

  3. dawglb says: May 15, 2012 8:53 PM

    These claims are absolutely ridiculous. Not just his, but all of them. You cannot play football without getting a severe headache (aka concussion). If there is an NFLer out there that has never had a concussion, he should return his paycheck, because he hasn’t played a meaningful down.

  4. abninf says: May 15, 2012 8:55 PM

    That’s football, baby.

  5. starfan79 says: May 15, 2012 9:03 PM

    Stupid

  6. alstottwastheman says: May 15, 2012 9:06 PM

    Breaking news: Half of all the great plays you can remember were probaly made by a player that had a concussion in that same game.

  7. bozosforall says: May 15, 2012 9:08 PM

    That’s nothing…Adam Viniteri kicked the Patriots to three Super Bowls on the strength of field position illegally gained via information gleaned from the cheating by New England.

  8. elifan4life says: May 15, 2012 9:11 PM

    When are these guys gonna realize that football is gonna brain your damage??

  9. diamonds2323 says: May 15, 2012 9:16 PM

    matt bahr>epstein barr

  10. zaggs says: May 15, 2012 9:18 PM

    This had more to do with the way Bahr tackled. Head down all the way so it and his neck got compressed.

  11. thegreatgabbert says: May 15, 2012 9:19 PM

    He just closed one eye and everything looked normal again.

  12. aljack88 says: May 15, 2012 9:22 PM

    bozosforall says:
    May 15, 2012 9:08 PM
    That’s nothing…Adam Viniteri kicked the Patriots to three Super Bowls on the strength of field position illegally gained via information gleaned from the cheating by New England.
    ————————————————————-

    ya think so? I have an Edsel I’ld to sell ya.

  13. blutri10 says: May 15, 2012 9:25 PM

    Matt was my dad’s roommate at Penn State on the soccer team…and they played professional soccer too…

    and I never heard this story from him! WOW!

    This is why I come to PFT!!!

  14. ripster65 says: May 15, 2012 9:26 PM

    …uuuuuuuuuvvvvv course he did…next headline: “Matt’s brother Chris kicked his way to a Very successful career as well and GUESS WHAT?!?”

  15. rexryanstoecheese says: May 15, 2012 9:31 PM

    @bozoforall:

    prove it!

  16. djstat says: May 15, 2012 9:41 PM

    He gave a heck of an interview to CBS talking about his arm band supporting the troops in Iraq and how amazing it felt to win. I call bull $h!t

  17. dawglb says: May 15, 2012 9:46 PM

    If kickers and punters are now coming out and claiming concussions, can you imagine what the rest of the special teamers’ brains must be like? Can’t wait for the first cheerleader to make headlines, suing the NFL…..

  18. j0esixpack says: May 15, 2012 9:48 PM

    Is it just me, or is it a little creepy to see someone so obsessed with a sports conspiracy theory they feel a need to post adolescent smack talk in articles that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand?

    Nah, it’s not just me.

    That IS downright creepy.

  19. Deb says: May 15, 2012 9:49 PM

    Bahr kicked for the Steelers during the ’79 season and has a ring with them for SBXIV. Was just thinking of him the other day because I’m not thrilled with our current kicker, Suisham, and was wishing we had another Bahr. Through the years we’ve all seen guys play after getting their “bell rung.” Guess it was naive, but until recently, most of us didn’t realize the long-term risks they took toughing it out in those circumstances.

  20. squared80 says: May 15, 2012 9:52 PM

    A story about a kicker with a concussion? Really? A kicker? Seriously!?

  21. nickp91 says: May 15, 2012 9:58 PM

    Do you know were you when matt bahr kicked this?

  22. maddog111 says: May 15, 2012 9:59 PM

    And now he wants a piece of the pie? What a shock.

    Bad thing is there are some legit claims out there and POS like him want to hit the lotto.

  23. nygdriveforfive says: May 15, 2012 10:19 PM

    One of the greatest games ever. This just adds to it.

  24. istateyourname says: May 15, 2012 10:27 PM

    Calm, cool and concussed…

    Maybe if he knew what the heck was on the line, he might have missed it…

  25. billsfan1 says: May 15, 2012 10:49 PM

    and he is just realizing this now? wait, what about my turn at doing something with a concussion… maybe this guy is just a pussbag…

    imagine what steve tasker and reyna (spelling?) Thompson went through…

  26. nflofficeadmin says: May 15, 2012 10:52 PM

    Watching is game again can enlarge the testicles.

  27. Deb says: May 15, 2012 11:36 PM

    maddog111 says:

    And now he wants a piece of the pie? What a shock.

    Bad thing is there are some legit claims out there and POS like him want to hit the lotto.
    ————————————————
    There’s not one word in that article about Matt Bahr wanting a piece of any pie. And if he was sent onto the field while concussed after making tackles, he’s as entitled to sue as any other player. You have absolutely no justification for calling him a POS.

  28. bozosforall says: May 15, 2012 11:37 PM

    @aljack88
    I don’t have to think anything. Goodell punishing the Pats for their cheating ways during the 2000-2006 time period clinches it for everyone except New Englanders in denial.

    @toecheese
    Goodall used all the proof necessary to punish the Pats off their cheating ways. No need to prove anything more to establish that the Pats cheated their way to these wins. They haven’t won a title since.

    @j0esuxd!ck
    Even more creepy is the mass denial from the idiot Pats fan base that it was proven that the Pats cheated and were punished with the largest penalty ever handed out by the NFL to that point.

    To all you three as well as the rest of the idiot New England fan base

    Your team will NEVER live it down. Get used to it.

  29. CKL says: May 16, 2012 3:21 AM

    Excuse us Pats fans for taking ANYTHING DeOssie says with a huge grain of salt. Pats fans know exactly what I am referring to.

  30. rayala3 says: May 16, 2012 8:29 AM

    With the new rules the Bills would actually have a Super Bowl ring.

  31. aljack88 says: May 16, 2012 9:28 AM

    bozosforall says:
    May 15, 2012 11:37 PM
    @aljack88
    I don’t have to think anything. Goodell punishing the Pats for their cheating ways during the 2000-2006 time period clinches it for everyone except New Englanders in denial.
    ————————————————————-

    you obviously don’t bother to recall the facts correctly, either.

    Goodell’s punishment was issued before he viewed all the tapes that were turned over by the Pats. In fact, it was issued even before he requested that the Pats turn over all videotape, files and records pertaining to that practice. The punishment also remained unchanged after he reviewed Matt Walsh’s 8 tapes and also after he interviewed Matt Walsh.

    There’s no denial the fact that the Pats had been videotaping. They did not lie or attempt any cover up of what they had done. One can wildly speculate on what advantages the Pats could have obtained while reviewing videotape shot during the 1st half of games during the 15 minute half time break; but skewing the facts regarding the punishment just makes you look like an idiot.

  32. johnnyjagfan says: May 16, 2012 9:47 AM

    Its time for a waiver agreement for concussions to be attached to every NFL contract. You will hurt your head if you run into a 6’4 265 lb man running full steam at you that hits you in the head. End of story. Willful blindness is not a reality among pro football players. They know they can get a concussion.

  33. fwippel says: May 16, 2012 9:53 AM

    Matt Bahr was money. He scored all the Giants points that day. To find out now that he did it with concussion? Wow.

    I figured the Giants would get steamrolled that day, being on the road with their starting QB on the bench for the season. That was one of the best conference championship games I’ve ever watched.

    Too bad NFL network never shows replays of that game. Instead we get stuck with garbage like “Football Follies”, bogus “Hard knocks” episodes, and endless replays of NFL Access which say the same thing over and over.

  34. dan7800 says: May 16, 2012 10:15 AM

    What else do you expect when you have a helmet with only 1 bar?

  35. sj39 says: May 16, 2012 10:15 AM

    Amazing at the Patriot fan base denial. They CHEATED their way to three Super Bowls. That will never change.

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