The Pittsburgh Steelers Used to Have a "Prom Date" Rule for Concussions


The Jason McIntyre Show is every Sunday from 11 am – 2 pm on Yahoo Sports Radio. You can also listen on the YSR app, or on Sirius channel 92. You can subscribe on ITunes here or listen directly here.

1st Hour: ESPN’s Jay Bilas came on the show, and he doesn’t think it’s a slam dunk that Fred Hoiberg leaves Iowa State, or that John Calipari would leave Kentucky if the Wildcats go 40-0 and win the National Championship and six or seven players jump to the NBA.

2nd hour: A Q&A with 2-time Super Bowl champ Bryant McFadden, who is now an analyst with 120 Sports. McFadden had some thoughts on Chris Borland’s early retirement, but also about how the Pittsburgh Steelers used to handle concussions when he was with the team for his first stint from 2005-2008:

“I had a few concussions … when I was playing, my last season was 2011, the concussions, they weren’t magnified like how they are right now. A guy would get concussed in the 1st quarter, and he might come back in the 2nd quarter. We consider that to be a ding. ‘I got a little ding right quick, I’m OK though … they give you the smelling salts. They didn’t have the in-depth concussion protocol they have right now.

Q: Was it worth it? “At the end of the day, for me, it was worth it. it was always a dream of mine to play in the National Football League. Playing at Florida State was a dream. My family couldn’t afford to put me up or get loans for me to go to school. No question it was worth it. Sometimes you may have headaches and migraines, and sometimes the memory could be an issue, but playing in the (NFL) has opened up so many doors … I’m thankful for it.”

Q: Did you get concussions?: “If you didn’t get concussed, you wasn’t hitting hard enough. ‘Oh yeah, I got my first concussion out of the way, I must be doing something right.’ We played a game in Cleveland, I think 2008, and Kellen Winslow made a catch and I made a tackle, went low on him, and I took a knee to the head. I was literally stumbling back to the huddle and I stayed in the game. The guys in the huddle saw me and said something wasn’t right. But I’m out here on the battlefield. If I’m not getting carried out, I’m gonna stay on the football field. Nowadays when you see a guy stumble, the protocol is bring a guy to the sidelines. That wasn’t the case in 2008.”

Q: Do you remember the Winslow hit? “The first thing I said to myself, ‘oh, come on B Mac, don’t let ’em see that you’re sleep out here. We used to call it, when you’re getting concussed, ‘you’re getting sleep.’ You pretty much went to sleep when you weren’t sleepy. We used to joke around with it all the time. We had a rule in Pittsburgh – we used to call it the ‘Prom Date’ rule. Everybody goes to prom … when you get your date and put your arm underneath your date, you take that picture … you don’t want to get prom escorted off the field. A man doesn’t get prom escorted off the football field.”

“When the trainers come to get you, you wave them off. ‘Nah, I’m good.’ I can walk off. Or better yet, I’m not coming off the football field. That was the norm. That’s how we thought … when you’re playing football, especially as a defensive player, you’re expected to go through some aches and pains …  your job is to be warriors and continue to battle through it. Either you’re injured or you’re hurt, in both cases, you’re going to play.”

3rd hour: I lambasted Jim Boeheim for this and this. At the end of the hour, I spoke with ESPN’s business reporter Darren Rovell. He majored in theater at Northwestern. Also, we spoke about dealing with twitter trolls.