Steven Jay Tasker (born April 10, 1962) is an American broadcaster for CBS Sports, MSG Western New York, and WGR who used to be 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.
April 10, 1962 |
Smith Center, Kansas
|Height:||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight:||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school:||Leoti (KS) Wichita County|
|NFL Draft:||1985 / Round: 9 / Pick: 226|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
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. Tasker continues to hold the Northwestern Wildcats football career record for kickoff return average (24.3).
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.
Tasker was 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 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 gunnerEdit
Tasker stood 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg); when he joined the Bills, Jim Haslett did not think that he was a player. (Tasker recalled, "I told him not to worry because I was mistaken for a ball boy all the time".) Despite his small 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.
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 No. 9 on the NFL Network's NFL Top 10 Players Not in the Hall of Fame. It is widely believed[by whom?] that while the barrier to special teamers ever reaching Canton is very high; only a few have been enshrines specifically for their special teams play.
Tasker was a color commentator for CBS football telecasts (with Andrew Catalon (play-by-play) and Steve Beuerlein (the other color commentator) starting in 2014). Now, he is a color commentator but this time (with Tom McCarthy (play-by-play) and Steve Beuerlein (the other color commentator) starting in 2017. He also does play-by-play for the local broadcasts of Bills pre-season games, at one time working with 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 was on the sidelines with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms during the playoffs until 2013. 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 in 1998 and from 2005 to 2010. Johnson left for FOX Sports the following year. He and Johnson called the David Garrard game winning Hail Mary touchdown pass for the Jacksonville Jaguars' win over the Houston Texans in 2010.
- Major, Andy (April 25, 2009). "Bills All-Time Team Fan Voting Determined 26 Total Members". Buffalo Bills. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
- [permanent dead link] Sullivan, Jerry, "Tasker elevates Bills' depth chart to new heights." Buffalo News,(Buffalo, New York) May 8, 1996, page C1. ProQuest (subscription) document ID 16933668.
- Northwestern Football 2011 Yearbook. NUSports.com. 2011. p. 162.
- "The Month of November in Bills History". Buffalo Bills. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
- Tasker, Steve; Pitoniak, Scott (2013). "Introduction". The Buffalo Bills: My Life on a Special Team. Sports Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61321-328-5.
- #9 Steve Tasker - NFL Films - Top 10 Players Not in the Hall of Fame (Motion picture). NFL Films. May 15, 2017.
- "Steve Tasker Wall of Fame Ceremony". Retrieved August 9, 2009.
- Class of 2012 semifinalists, Pro Football Hall of Fame, November 22, 2011.
- Pro Football Hall Of Fame Announces 26 Semifinalists, Sports Illustrated, November 23, 2011.