Always Up To The Tasker

Cody HodgeContributor IAugust 5, 2009

14 Sep 1997:  Wide receiver Steve Tasker of the Buffalo Bills runs with the football during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Chiefs won the game 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport

On Saturday, August 8th, Bruce Smith will inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be joined by Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, but they are not the only Bills from the great 1990's teams enshrined in the Hall.

Running back Thurman Thomas, and quarterback Jim Kelly are also enshrined, and have been inducted in the past decade. James Lofton, and former Bills coach Marv Levy have also been enshrined in Canton, Ohio.

While all four men deserve to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, I do wonder if there are any Bills from those teams that have gotten the snub at all. As I ponder that question, there is one man who may never make it to the Hall, and it is truly a shame.

That man of course is Steve Tasker, and I believe that most Bills fans will be in agreement on that one. On a recent list released by the NFL network, Tasker was number 9 on the top ten list of players who should be in the Hall of Fame, but are not enshrined.

While Tasker was only 5'9, he made up for his lack of size with a big heart, and some fast legs. His speed down the field made it hard for the punter to out kick the coverage, and gave return men fits. If being the most feared player on special teams in the entire league doesn't make you a Hall of Famer, what does?

Not only was Tasker a great return man, but he also put up some numbers as a wide receiver. While he didn't do much as a reciever during the Super Bowl years, he averaged 20.5 catches, 310 yards and 3 TD's a season in 1995 and 1996. 

If that isn't impressive, take into account his stat line for a game against the Jets in 1996: 6 catches, 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. If that doesn't say athlete, I don't know what does.

It makes you wonder what Tasker could have been had he played in today's era. Whenever I look at Wes Welker, I think of Steve Tasker. He is smaller, but is tough, and plays special teams and wide receiver. I can't help but think that Tasker could have been that guy as well, if only he had been given a chance to play more on offense.

However, despite all of that, Tasker still appeared in 7 pro bowls, and was named the MVP of the 1993 Pro Bowl. If that doesn't make you one of the greatest players in the game, I don't know what does. 

When you think of Tasker, remember that he went to seven pro bowls, blocked numerous punts, and decided the outcome of so many Bills games. He was one of the biggest reasons the Bills went to four Super Bowls, and the reason the Bills won so many games.

Tasker was in a league all by himself, and very few will ever match what he did. If that doesn't say Hall of Fame, I don't know what does.