The current concerns around the effects of long-lasting injuries in contact-sport athletes tend to turn into major stories, and former Buffalo Bills are no exception.
Jim Kelly's medical battles in recent years are well-known and have nothing to do with his playing career, but a recent tidbit in a media session during the Hall of Fame festivities captured a lot of people's attention.
Jim Kelly said today at a Hall of Fame media session that he played with a concussion for the entire 4th quarter of Super Bowl 26 against the Redskins. Kelly said he still has zero recollection of that quarter and had no idea where he was after the game ended. He even went back to the wrong hotel afterwards.
The idea of a player heroically coming out to battle after an injury on the biggest stage is the stuff of legend, but in situations like that it's a bit disconcerting. It's the kind of thing that the league's concussion protocol was designed to prevent (albeit, over 20 years after this game).
The second of the Bills' four consecutive Super Bowls saw Kelly throw a Super Bowl-record 58 passes, completing 28 of them for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. Through three quarters, Kelly was 18-of-36 for 198 yards and three picks, and took a sack on the first play from scrimmage of the final frame. He missed a play a bit later in the quarter, and came back in to complete 10-of-22 for 77 yards, both touchdowns, and one more interception.
The fact that he played better after the injury goes to show that a player's performance isn't the ultimate judge of their physical state. A player can play well without being well.