Steve Tasker

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Steve Tasker
No. 89
Wide receiver / Special teamer / Gunner
Personal information
Date of birth: (1962-04-10) April 10, 1962 (age 52)
Place of birth: Smith Center, Kansas[1]
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
College: Northwestern
NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 9 / Pick: 226
Debuted in 1985 for the Houston Oilers
Last played in 1997 for the Buffalo Bills
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions 51
Receiving Yards 779
Touchdowns 9
Stats at NFL.com

Steven Jay Tasker (born April 10, 1962 in Smith Center, Kansas) is a broadcaster for CBS Sports, who previously was a wide receiver/gunner in the National Football League. He was drafted in the ninth round (226th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played college football at Northwestern. He began his college career at Dodge City Community College.

Tasker played most of his pro career with the Buffalo Bills, and was voted by Bills fans to the teams 50th season All-time Team.[2]

College career[edit]

Tasker first attended Dodge City Community College. After two years, he transferred to Northwestern University where he played the final two years of his college career before joining the National Football League. After finishing his college football career, and before being drafted into the NFL, he joined the school's rugby team. Although he had never played rugby before, he was named most valuable player at the Big Ten Conference Tournament.[3] Tasker continues to hold the Northwestern Wildcats football career record for kickoff return average (24.3).[4]

Professional career[edit]

Tasker was selected in the ninth round (226th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers where he played for two seasons. He was claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Bills on November 8, 1986.[5]

Tasker was officially listed as a wide receiver, however, most of his playing time came as a gunner, on punts and kickoffs. However, after he joined the Buffalo Bills, he began to play at wide receiver more than with the Oilers. While he performed very well as a receiver when Buffalo needed his services there, the combination of excellent Bills depth at that position, his value as a special teams playmaker, and Tasker unselfishly refusing to demand more playing time on offense kept his WR time very slight.

Still, Tasker did make contributions at the more traditional role on offense and special teams. In a 1994 playoff game against the Los Angeles Raiders, he set up the Bills first touchdown with a 67-yard kickoff return. He also caught 5 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in Buffalo's 1996 playoff win against the Miami Dolphins.

Play as gunner[edit]

Tasker stands just 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 183 lbs., however, despite his lack of size, he gained a reputation as one of the league's most feared hitters, forcing numerous fumbles. Contributing to his success in breaking up kick and punt returns was his speed; he was almost always the first player to reach the return man. He was the first player to establish himself as a star almost exclusively through special teams play without being either a kicker or a returner.

Tasker played in seven Pro Bowls (1987 and 1990-1995) and became the only special teamer ever to be named the game's MVP in 1993.

  • 1987: 20 Tackles with 3 FF [6]
  • 1992: 19 Tackles [7]

Many, including former teammate and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, consider him to be the greatest special teams player of all-time and believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame. He was even ranked #9 on the NFL Network's NFL Top 10 Players Not in the Hall of Fame. It is widely believed that while the barrier to special teamers ever reaching Canton is very high--the only specialist currently enshrined is former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud--Tasker is one of two recent special teams players likely to eventually get elected, along with kicker Adam Vinatieri. Former Raiders punter Ray Guy was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014, which may open the door.

After football[edit]

Tasker is currently a color commentator for CBS football telecasts as well as play-by-play for the local broadcasts of Bills pre-season games, working alongside his former coach, Marv Levy, who also did color commentary until becoming the General Manager of the Bills in 2006. In 2007, Ray Bentley took over Levy's place as play-by-play announcer while Tasker provided color commentary. Tasker is also the spokesperson for the West Herr Auto Group. Tasker currently works with Bill Macatee during the regular season and is on the sidelines with Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and during the playoffs. He also worked with Don Criqui (Criqui, himself a Buffalo native, and Tasker were assigned to the majority of Bills games from 1999 to 2004) and was best known working with Gus Johnson until Johnson left for FOX Sports. He and Johnson called the David Garrard game winning Hail Mary touchdown pass for the Jacksonville Jaguars' win over the Houston Texans in 2010.

On September 9, 2007, Tasker became the 24th person inducted to the Bills Wall of Fame.[8]

On November 22, 2011, Tasker was named one of the semifinalists in balloting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.[9][10]

His son, Luke Tasker, made his Canadian Football League debut with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on September 28, 2013, in a home game against the Calgary Stampeders.

Trivia[edit]

ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman gave Tasker one of his famous nicknames: Steve "A-Tisker, A" Tasker. Tasker was ejected from his final NFL game, a loss to the Green Bay Packers in 1997, for bumping a referee.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Michael Irvin (1991)
Pro Bowl MVP
1992
Succeeded by
Andre Rison (1993)