The Buffalo News is reporting that the Buffalo Bills have chosen former wide receiver and special teams ace Steve Tasker to be placed on the Bills' Wall of Fame this coming season. Tasker, who is widely viewed as the best special teams player in league history, becomes the seventh player from the Super Bowl era to receive this honor. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Kent Hull, Jim Ritcher and Darryl Talley are all enshrined on the Wall thus far. That team's head coach, Marv Levy, is also on the Wall.
Tasker was a fan favorite in Buffalo, playing part of 1986 (after being picked up off waivers from the Houston Oilers) through the end of 1997 with the club. Near the end of his career, Tasker became a top target for the Bills, posting solid receiving numbers in the twilight of Jim Kelly's career.
But it was Tasker's special teams prowess that made him so dominant. He could do it all in this area - he was a gunner on both kick and punt return units; he could block both punts and kicks; heck, he even made a few kick and punt returns in his time in Buffalo. Never has there been a more dominant, explosive playmaker on Buffalo's special teams. Tasker earned seven Pro Bowl berths as an AFC specialist, and even won the Pro Bowl's MVP Award for his special teams efforts in the 1993 game. Simply put, Tasker is the best special teams player in the history of the game.
Does that make him worthy of the Hall of Fame? Only time will tell, obviously, but there's really only one way to look at this: every single coach in the NFL harps that there are three phases to the game, and that all three are equally important. Every team needs good offense, good defense and good special teams to be successful. That makes Tasker's special teams heroics just as important to a successful team as a Montana-to-Rice touchdown strike. Tasker was never a dominant receiver - in fact, he did not see much playing time at wideout for the majority of his career. The fact that he was able to stick in the NFL for such a long period of time really speaks volumes to just how unique a talent Tasker was.
I will be at the game in which Tasker is enshrined onto the Bills' Wall of Fame (which has not yet been determined). At some point down the line, I expect to be there when he is enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Both are honors that Steve Tasker earned and deserves.