on June 10, 2003
We all wonder what makes a player eligible to be in the Hall of Fame.
Every year the Sports Writers of America vote on players and I often wonder
how they decide what the criteria is for entrance? I have my criteria and
I'm not sure it fits theirs, but I think it should be discussed to qualify
the standards for the public.
1 You must be a great player that was acknowledged by your peers.
(An example would be, the Pro-Bowl. MVP, etc.)
2 You must do something that effects the History of the Game of Football.
(An example would be Stats, Super Bowls, Championships, etc.
3 You effected in some way the game planning of your opponents.
(This is important for non- skilled positions.)
4 You become the standard for you position. You were the type
of player that scouts look for in evaluating future players.
Do these qualifications meet the standards of what is used by the Sports Writers of America use to vote for players to enter the Hall of Fame?
If they do, then Steve Tasker meets the requirements.
Steve Tasker impacted games as much as any offensive lineman that is in the Hall of Fame. There are kickers in the Hall of Fame, and punters in the Hall of fame that meet these requirements, so the argument that he was just a special teams player is without merit.
The amount of time that Steve Tasker was on the field to effect a game in any manor compared to others is with out a doubt amazing. Coaches feared Steve Tasker and actually game planed against him in their special team meetings. Films would be shown to other players on other teams to study how Steve was able to do what he did.
Nobody has been able to Draft another Steve Tasker and believe me they look all the time for someone somewhere in the smallest of colleges. His ability to effect the momentum of a game from the special team aspect to this day has never been equaled. Oh yes there is an occasional play from the gunner position on a punt return that brings some reaction from the crowd, but I can tell you for a fact that when the Bills punted and the crowd saw #89 walk on the field, the anticipation of an exciting play was never in question.
I think the most fitting tribute to Steve during his playing days was that every player on both sides of the field stopped and watched to see what Steve Tasker was going to do. There was no coaching going on, there were no lineman sitting down to get some rest, there were just players and coaches standing and straining on the side lines to see a possible momentum changing play. It wasn't a field goal to win a game. It was just an ordinary punt or kick off that they new could be the changing point of the game because one person and one person only was on the field - #89.
Teams all over the country knew of his abilities, they had seen film all week. They had been told by their coach, "Do not let Tasker make a play." Ask them. See if this is not the truth. Ask every Special Team Coach and Head Coach in the NFL if they had an answer for Steve Tasker. The ones that thought so before the game started, knew differently at the end. Steve Tasker was one of a kind.
He was acknowledged by his peers. He was on four Super Bowl teams and six Championship teams. He was a Pro-Bowl player seven times, six in consecutive years.
In 1993 he was the first special teams player named the MVP of the Pro-Bowl. Steve Tasker was not just a special teams player, Steve Tasker was a player who could change the course of a game and was respected by his peers. He effected the game planning of his opponents and became the standard for his position for all to be measured by.