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Steven Jay Tasker (born April 10, 1962) is an American broadcaster for CBS Sports, 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.

Steve Tasker
No. 89
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1962-04-10) April 10, 1962 (age 55)
Smith Center, Kansas
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school: Leoti (KS) Wichita County
College: Northwestern
NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 9 / Pick: 226
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions: 51
Receiving Yards: 779
Touchdowns: 9
Player stats at NFL.com

Tasker played most of his pro career with the Buffalo Bills, and was voted by Bills fans to the team's 50th season All-time Team.[1]

Contents

College careerEdit

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.[2] Tasker continues to hold the Northwestern Wildcats football career record for kickoff return average (24.3).[3]

Professional careerEdit

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.[4]

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 just 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 183 lbs., however, 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.

Tasker played in seven Pro Bowls (1987 and 19901995) and became the only special teamer ever to be named the game's MVP in 1993.

  • 1987: 20 Tackles with 3 FF [5]
  • 1992: 19 Tackles [6]

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.[citation needed]

After footballEdit

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.

On September 9, 2007, Tasker became the 24th person inducted to the Bills' Wall of Fame.[7]

On November 22, 2011, Tasker was named one of the semifinalists in balloting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.[8][9]

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.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit