DeHaven: No special teamer more Hall worthy than Tasker

Carolina special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven coached special-teams ace Steve Tasker in the 1990s, so he knows how valuable ... or invaluable ... he was. And, according to DeHaven, Tasker was so accomplished he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "If Steve Tasker doesn't go in as a special teams player then nobody should go in," he said.


(Photos courtesy of Buffalo Bills)


There are few special teams coordinators as knowledgeable and as respected as Carolina’s Bruce DeHaven, so when he talks people listen. And when he talked on the Talk of Fame’s latest broadcast we listened carefully – mostly because he had something to say about the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

As in … why isn’t former Buffalo special teams star Steve Tasker in it? That’s the question DeHaven faced when our Rick Gosselin asked if there’s a place for Tasker in Canton.

“If there isn’t,” DeHaven said, “I’m not sure why they have a Hall of Fame. All I know is the kind of impact that he had on the game when he was playing. I’ve been in the league a long time, and I’m probably the wrong guy to ask that because of the way I feel about him. There have been a lot of great special teams players in the last 30 years, (but) if Steve Tasker doesn’t go in as a special teams player then nobody should go in.

“As a special teams coach I look at these things a little differently than some other people do. I look at some of the guys that go in. There are owners and other things, and I’m not sure that they have any more impact on the game than a guy like Steve Tasker did as a special teams player. He forced people to look at the game a little bit differently than what they had before. You saw teams that went out there and actually put three guys on him.”

Of course, DeHaven isn’t exactly impartial. He coached Tasker when he was with the Buffalo Bills, but those units were among the game’s best. But so was Tasker. He was a perennial All-Pro, making the team seven times – including six consecutive years. Years later, when DeHaven served under Bill Parcells in Dallas, he wasn’t surprised when he the then-Cowboys coach raved about Tasker.

“I remember him telling me,” said DeHaven, “that when they (the New York Giants) played us (Buffalo) in Super Bowl XV the guy he was the most concerned about when he played us was Tasker and how he might affect the game.”