Buffalo Bills Special Teams
True fans of special teams play will for years admire and recall Steve Tasker’s agility and ability to beat the coverage, tackle kick return players and down punts headed for the goal line. Arriving in Buffalo midway through the 1986 season, he quickly became a team and fan favorite at wide receiver – scoring touchdowns on his first two receptions – in addition to being one of the top special teams cover men in the game.
The 5-9, 181 pound Tasker, who hails from Kansas, must have seemed like a tornado to many opposing players when they met them helmet-to-helmet. While professional football players were role models of one kind, Tasker looked to his father and three brothers to be his guiding force while in high school and during his college days at Northwestern.
Appearing in 195 regular season and playoff games during his career, he made 204 career special team tackles and seven blocked punts to his credit. Perhaps the most memorable blocked punt came against the Raiders in 1990 when Tasker blocked a punt that was returned for the touchdown to spark the greatest comeback victory. In 1996 when the Bills were in need of wide receivers late in the season Tasker, who had eight catches in seven seasons with the team, became an important part of the pass offense. In the playoff blowout against the Dolphins, he not only caught a touchdown pass but also tallied up five passes for 108 yards. During his 11 seasons as a Buffalo Bill Tasker was selected by his peers and coaches to represent the AFC in seven Pro Bowls and is the only true special teams’ player to be selected as the Pro Bowl MVP, earning that destination in the 1993 Game.
His name and accomplishments have make their way onto the pages of some of the most respected football publications including Pro Football Weekly’s All-NFL and All-AFC squads, All-Pro teams, All-Madden team and the Pro Football Writers of America All-Pro Team. Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy called Tasker one of the greatest special teams player to ever play the game and said he was tremendous credit to the game and to the Buffalo Bills.
In December 1997, at the age of 35, Tasker made the hard decision to retire from the game and career he loved. Steve played his final game against the Green Bay Packers, but just a few plays into the game he was charged with bumping an official and ejected from the game. This was not the type of exit he or the thousand of fans who had come to just to bid him well would ever have imagined. Even after Tasker had called it a game accolades and honors continued to come his way. In 2000 the NFL Hall of Fame voted him to the All-Time NFL Team. There he joined 26 other players – from the likes of Jim Brown and Walter Payton – as the best of the best players in the history of the game.
Today, Steve is a commentator for CBS sports, a host on the Empire Sports Network and member of the WNSA broadcast lineup. The Tasker family still calls Buffalo home, and while Steve may have hung up his player jersey he still plays to crowds and draws applause from a new fan base who come to see his performance in local community theater.