Steve Tasker (S85) had a game plan that took him from the gridiron
and into TV.
Steve Tasker (S85) knows well from his gridiron experience that preparation
is half if not more of what leads to football success. In his own life
he thoroughly prepared himself for not one but two careers after graduating
with a degree in communication studies from Northwestern.
Tasker arrived at Northwestern in 1982, recruited out of a junior college
in his home state of Kansas to play football for the Wildcats. Although
he had dreams of playing in the NFL, his ultimate goal was a career in
"Northwestern offered me a scholarship to play football, and it was
a great opportunity academically," he says. "I decided my senior
year in high school that I wanted to do radio. [After playing at Northwestern]
I thought I might get a chance to play football, but I didnt think
Id have a real career."
Then in 1985, just before graduation, the Houston Oilers selected him
in the ninth round of the NFL draft. After a year in Houston the Buffalo
Bills picked him up, and he remained there for the balance of his 13-year
career. Listed as a wide receiver in both college and the pros, Tasker
was always a standout special teams player. At Northwestern he was a go-to
kick and punt returner, and in the NFL, even at 5 feet 9 inches and 185
pounds, he was one of the most respected special teams players in the
game, known for his speed and toughness.
During Taskers tenure in the NFL, he played in all four of the Bills
Super Bowl appearances and was selected to seven Pro Bowls including 1993,
in which he became the first special teams player ever to be named the
games most valuable player.
Retiring from football in 1997, Tasker was immediately offered a contract
with CBS Sports as a football color analyst, and he continues to cover
a different NFL game each week. It is the culmination of years of diligent
work building a broadcasting résumé while he still played
football. Starting with internships and eventually landing his own show
at a local Buffalo affiliate, Tasker quickly made a name for himself in
that television market.
"When I was playing, I knew that youre always a broken leg
away from being finished," he explains, "so I continued to do
TV all through my football career."
In addition to his seasonal duties for CBS, Tasker works with the Empire
Sports Network a cable operation covering sports in western New
Tasker and his family have stayed in the area, where they are active and
involved residents. He is a member of the Aurora Players, one of the oldest
local acting troupes in the country. "Buffalo is a very close-knit
community," Tasker says. "Its very similar to where my
wife and I grew up in rural America."
He and his wife, Sarah, have four sons and a daughter. His flexible schedule
allows him to accompany them to their various activities, both non-sports
and sports, including football. Although a supportive parent, he prefers
the role of spectator to coach.
"I think its a bad idea for professional athletes to coach
their children," he says. "I think its best to let your
kids find their own way. I hope they choose the sport theyre best
at, whether or not its the one I played."
By keeping his eye on the ball both on and off the field, Tasker has been
able to make his mark in two separate arenas.
Lisa Zimmerman (WCAS86)
Lisa Zimmerman is a freelance writer based in Hastings-on-Hudson,
RETURN TO TOP