As we reported in November, the Buffalo Bills had two former players on the semi-finalist list of potential modern-era candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2021. Both special teams ace Steve Tasker and Cornelius Bennett made the list, Tasker for his eighth time and Bennett for his first.
Both will have to wait at least another year to make it to Canton.
A list of 15 finalists was released on NFL.com and NFL Network this evening and neither former Bills made the cut. The most prominent name on the list is two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Peyton Manning. Other notable names included Manning’s former target in Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson, former Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons LB Clay Matthews, and former Miami Dolphins LB Zach Thomas.
Bennett’s contributions on the field were substantial and his accolades include five Pro Bowls, three first-team All-Pro, twice was the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Year, was a member of the Bills’ 50th Anniversary Team, and was second-team on the All-90s voting behind three Hall of Famers.
Tasker’s achievements hardly need to be re-hashed for Bills fans but he is undoubtly the greatest non-kicking special teams player of all time and perhaps the greatest special teams player outright. Stats have been unable to capture his influence and greatness on the field, which has potentially hurt his path to make it to Canton. However, he remains in the conversation year after year, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.