Inside The Bills

Tasker: He cared deeply about this team

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2014 – 9:13 pm

Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker took time to reflect on Mr. Wilson’s legacy in the game Tuesday after news of his passing. Loyal to Mr. Wilson for all he did for him, his career and his family, Tasker explained how much the Bills meant to the Hall of Fame owner.

Tasker even got choked up when he thought back to how much Mr. Wilson enjoyed the big victories.

“Back in those days when we were winning games… uhhh, occasionally… occasionally when we’d win a big one… it was great… to see what it meant to him,” said Tasker. “He didn’t fake his joy. He didn’t put on a front for how happy it made him. He didn’t make up any emotions to make it look good for any media or any fans.

“When the Bills won a big game, it was as if he was the only fan, and sometimes in the dark days maybe he was, but this team mattered to him deeply. For all the criticism and all the bad years and the dark times, the back to back 2-14 teams, it wasn’t because he didn’t care. He cared deeply.”

For Tasker even though it was a day he knew would eventually come, it didn’t make the news of Mr. Wilson’s passing any easier Tuesday.

“I’m like all of us. A lot of Bills fans have been standing on this cliff for a long time, but for those of us that played for him and knew him we were hoping it didn’t ever come,” he said. “I was pretty sad. I’m sad. I’m broken hearted over it. He’s a guy that I not only had a great deal of affection for personally, but I had a lot of respect for and I owed a lot of my success professionally and personally to him and this organization and I never forgot that and I never will. So I’m going to miss him greatly.”


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Teammate: Andre Reed changed WR

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 3, 2014 – 8:00 pm

Steve Tasker made his living on special teams, during his Wall of Fame career with the Buffalo Bills. But he also played wide receiver. And Tasker says teammate Andre Reed, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, changed the way the receiver position was played during his career.

Tasker was a guest Monday night on The John Murphy Show, and he talked about Reed’s career and how he helped the WR position evolve.

“Nobody before him had the kind of career he had,” Tasker said. “He was the guy in that no huddle, in a league that was changing into more of what we see now, he was the slot guy.”

Tasker says Reed’s performance over the years opened eyes all over the league as to the potential production that could come out of the slot WR spot.

“He played Wes Welker’s spot ten years before Welker was in the league, and he made a living doing it,” Tasker told host John Murphy.

“He was different, at the time he played. His ability and the way he ran and the way he played was different from a lot of guys. The way he ran, his run after the catch was legendary.”

The entire interview with Steve Tasker is available here


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Tasker: “Manning is most significant QB of our era”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 3, 2014 – 7:00 pm

In the wreckage of Denver’s blowout loss in Super Bowl XLVIII, former Bills Special Teams Ace Steve Tasker says QB Peyton Manning’s legacy will not be damaged that much.

In an appearance Monday night on The John Murphy Show, Tasker said going into the game, he thought Manning had a chance to burnish his legacy with a strong performance in the game. But even with his poor performance, Tasker believes Manning’s legacy remains intact. In fact, the Bills Wall of Famer says Peyton Manning is the most significant quarterback of our time.

“He is the absolute most significant quarterback to have played the game in our lifetime and perhaps in the history of the game,” Tasker said on the radio show.

“He changed the paradigm by which quarterbacks are evaluated. He changed the expectations of every quarterback across the league from his point forward, on what is expected of them (quarterbacks) in terms of preparation, and what is expected of them to be able to do on the field, on the fly. It’s all because of Peyton Manning and his ability and his preparedness on the field, that other quarterbacks are expected to be able to change plays, call their own plays, work the no huddle, work the snap count, work personnel combinations, dictate matchups—all of that is expected of a top flight quarterback now. And it was not before Peyton Manning came into the league.”

The entire radio interview with Steve Tasker is available here


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Tasker had trouble watching SB48

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 3, 2014 – 6:00 pm

You would think twenty years after the Bills last appearance in the Super Bowl, the sting of losing four in a row would be gone for the players in that game.

You’d be wrong.

Former Bills Special Teams Ace Steve Tasker says it was tough to watch Denver’s collapse in Super Bowl VLVIII, because it reminded him of the Bills big game failures.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Monday night, Tasker said he had to leave the room when things got bad for the Broncos.

“I could not watch the whole game,” he said. “I watched most of it, but there were times when I had to leave the room, because I felt it. I could feel what those guys on the Broncos were going through. I had to walk out and take a deep breath, and then go do something else and then come back in.”

Tasker said the Broncos performance reminded him especially of the Bills 52-17 loss to the Cowboys in January 1993, when they turned it over nine times. Host John Murphy asked Tasker how the pain could be so visceral 21-years after the game.

“I still feel it,” he said. “I really, really felt uncomfortable watching it. When you’re playing against a team the way the Seahawks were playing, there’s no answer.”

The entire interview with Steve Tasker is available here


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Teammates on Andre’s HOF nod

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2014 – 5:35 pm

A handful of his teammates, his head coach and general manager were in New York when Andre Reed was named as a member of the 2014 Hall of Fame class over the weekend. They shared their feelings with us and on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday.

“For him I thought well finally,” Steve Tasker told Buffalobills.com. “I knew it would happen and I had been keen to listen to other guys who had to wait, like Cris Carter and some other guys, who had to wait for a while. Longer than you would think they would have to wait to get into the Hall of Fame. And all of them said when it happens it doesn’t matter how long you had to wait. You’re a Hall of Famer. Andre has been a Hall of Famer for the guys who played with him and fans that watched him here in Buffalo for 20 years. It was great and well deserved.”

“We were in New York. We had tickets to the Honors Program. We were hoping of course and they announced Andre’s name and he showed up on the big screen and my wife Fran let out a big scream,” said Marv Levy in an appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550. “It’s a thrill, but up there on that screen for Andre and the others, it’s like having your son being announced as a member of the Hall of Fame.”

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Bill Polian on WGR Sportsradio 550. “This was a long time coming. For some reason, I don’t know why, I just felt this was the year. Every voter that I talked to and I was blatantly electioneering and I kept telling them it’s his time put him in and they did.”

“To know that I had something to do with it, knowing there were many players that had a lot to do with me going into the Hall of Fame so to be able to impact somebody else’s life and their play on the football field, when Thurman got in it was very special and when James Lofton went in it was very special and of course Bruce, who was one of the greatest to play that position of all time,” said Jim Kelly on WGR Sportsradio 550. “Andre and I think we hooked up over 600 times on receptions and know that he should’ve been in a long time ago, to finally get there and feel the impact it had on my heart when they announced that he was in and the feeling of knowing he finally got it. He carried a little chip and we all did a little bit. He’s in and that’s what counts and I cannot wait for August.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Will Guy’s induction open door for Tasker?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2014 – 7:48 pm

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame class for 2014 will mark the first that will ever have a special teams player in its ranks as Senior Committee finalist Ray Guy will join Bills all-time leading receiver Andre Reed and the other inductees for enshrinement in Canton this summer. With the barrier now broken by the famed Oakland punter, will it open the door for an equally deserving special teamer in Steve Tasker?

Tasker has been a Hall of Fame semifinalist six times, including four of the past five years, but has never been a finalist. Here’s a look at Ray Guy’s credentials that earned him enshrinement.

Guy becomes the first full-time punter to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An impact player throughout his entire 14-season career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, he was named All-Pro six straight years.

Tasker, who played 13 NFL seasons, is widely seen as the best cover and return teams player in NFL history. He went to seven Pro Bowls and earned a Pro Bowl MVP nod. He was also named to the PFWA All-NFL 1st team four times (1992-1995).


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Pettine: Kiko has exceeded expectations

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2013 – 2:22 pm

They weren’t sure he’d be able to step right into the starting lineup. They didn’t even plan for him to be a middle linebacker, but a lot of the initial thoughts of the defensive staff for changed once Kiko Alonso stepped onto the practice field.

Appearing on the Sirius XM NFL ‘No Huddle’ show with Steve Tasker, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine explained how Kiko’s early flashes of ability convinced them to hand him a giant role.

“I can’t tell the lie that he is exactly what we expected,” said Pettine. “I thought he was going to be more of a rookie that we had to work in some, but he’s exceeded our expectations from day one. We saw him as more of a weak side linebacker, but just kind of given our roster situation he was forced to play the mike linebacker and call all the signals. What helped him was everybody was new to the system too. The fact that everybody was new we decided to try it and it was a no brainer from the first day.”


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Past intel on Hughes sold Bills that he’d fit

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2013 – 12:19 pm

The Bills were presented with an opportunity to trade for Jerry Hughes shortly after the NFL draft. When defensive coordinator Mike Pettine heard the name mentioned he instantly became a lobbyist to make the deal happen.

Appearing on the Sirius XM NFL Radio ‘No Huddle’ show with Steve Tasker, Pettine revealed the prior knowledge he had acquired on Hughes when he was a college prospect.

“He didn’t surprise us (here) because in New York, the year he came out he was very high on our draft board. We knew he was going to probably going to fall right around where we were picking late in the first,” said Pettine. “I had gone down to TCU to work him out so when Doug (Marrone) mentioned the possibility of trading for him I couldn’t jump up on the table fast enough. He’s a special talent. The key thing there is he can run. There’s no substitute for that.

“I thought he’d be a perfect complement to line up opposite Mario. He’s benefited from people sliding protection to Mario. He’s benefited from some of those exposed edges.”


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Pettine: More 4 man rush than I thought

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2013 – 11:12 am

Appearing on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s ‘No Huddle’ show with Steve Tasker, Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine revealed that their approach to the pass rush became less about the blitz than he anticipated walking in the door.

Even though Buffalo has had a healthy blitz percentage this season, Pettine explains that with an elite pass rusher like Mario Williams rushing just four has proven effective with proper adjustments in alignments.

“Part of it was overcoming myself. We never felt we had an elite pass rusher in New York, but here we realized very quickly that sometimes simpler is better and we’ve been a lot more four-man rush here,” said Pettine. “We’ve put a little thought into how we were going to line those four guys up and what matchups we were going to use. Who was going to be to the back, away from the back, identify which way the center slides and it’s freed those guys up. They’ve done a good job preparing each week to rush the passer and I think that’s shown up in our sack numbers.”

Pettine also credited head coach Doug Marrone in helping them to beat offensive line protections.

“Doug Marrone it’s kind of his specialty, pass protection,” Pettine said. “He’s helped us with opposing offensive linemen, these are the moves they get beat on and this is the type of protection that they’re running. He’s given us some helpful things throughout the year.”


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What Hackett still wants from his offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2013 – 10:32 am

While Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has been encouraged by some of the things he’s seen from his offense on Sundays, he’s far from satisfied. He still doesn’t think his offense has reached critical mass when it comes to production in games.

Appearing on the ‘No Huddle’ radio show with Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Hackett explained what he still thinks needs to be accomplished on offense this season.

“To this point we haven’t had a mesh of the pass game and the run game,” said Hackett. “One of the sides has always been picking up the other. We haven’t run and passed well in the same game. Let’s get the 30 rushes and 30 passes and roll up 200 and 300 on both sides. Get a really good output of what you want and have it mesh together with a good balance with the right stuff. The things we do well we have to master them. But we really want that balanced production.”


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How Hackett convinced EJ to let it fly

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2013 – 9:26 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had two long talks with EJ Manuel after each of his two setback games this season. The first was after the first meeting with the Jets in Week 3. The second was after the Steelers game in Week 10. Here’s what he talked to Manuel about in each of those two meetings.

Appearing on the ‘No Huddle’ radio show with Steve Tasker on Sirius XM NFL Radio Wednesday night, Hackett explained what he and Manuel talked about after the first Jets game, which did not go well for Manuel. He was sacked eight times.

“EJ and I had a long talk and it was right after the first Jets game,” said Hackett. “He saw a lot, but for the first time to see the things he saw it was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I see it, but they’re really all coming after me.’

“We sat down and watched a lot of the quarterbacks across the league, the great ones, like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers. Why are those guys so good? When you put on their tape they’re truly throwing the ball before the guy is open. They’re trusting their team. They’re just dropping back, they see it and they know and throw an accurate pass and let their guys make a play. He saw that in the Baltimore game (the following week) and was like, ‘Wow you’re right I’ve just got trust the look and go.’ As he continues to see himself through that he’s going to get better.

“We had that same talk after the Steelers game. It was like, ‘Look man, throw it. Just throw it as hard as you can and don’t think about anything else and believe in what you see. You got exactly what you wanted. Just go.’”

“It’s crazy. Everybody sits there and we’re judged by what happens on that field. It’s crazy to me what he’s done up to this point,” said Hackett. “Really having two bum knees. He missed three weeks before the season started and had a week to get ready for the New England Patriots. Then he goes five games and misses another month so what he’s done up to this point has been wonderful to watch.

“I think the biggest thing for him is he’s very smart. He just needs to continue to trust what he sees it. He’ll see it and know what he’s supposed to do, but then it’s okay pull the trigger. He’s got all the talent in the world. Just throw it.

“I think that we saw that this last game. He saw the looks and identified it. He made like three or four audibles on his own and I’m like, ‘Whoa this is great.’ He just needs to continue to grow.”


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HOF semifinalists announced tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2013 – 4:47 pm

The NFL Network will announce the reduction of the initial Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee list of 125 candidates down to 25 semifinalists tonight. Bills Wall of Famers Andre Reed and Steve Tasker are both expected to make the cut.

Here’s a look at the likely candidates to make it through to the final 25, which include Reed and Tasker, who both made the semifinalist list last year.

The list will be announced on NFL Network this evening (Wednesday) at 10 pm.


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Tasker’s suggestion for fans of Jim Kelly

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2013 – 1:32 pm

Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker’s family is very close to that of Jim Kelly. So the former special teams ace knew about Kelly’s cancer diagnosis about a week and a half ago. Knowing how much Kelly is revered in Western New York he fully expects an outpouring of support for the Hall of Fame quarterback. Tasker also had a suggestion for what fans can do to support Kelly.

“If they can help one thing they can do is pray for him and realize that first and foremost it’s not just this iconic figure in Buffalo,” Tasker said. “He’s a friend and a guy we know and love. He’s part of our family and that’s how we should treat him - everybody, and I’m sure we will.”


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Frank Reich’s Call to Courage awards next Sat

Posted by Chris Brown on March 29, 2013 – 2:30 pm

Former Bills QB Frank Reich’s Athletes in Action will host the 12th Annual Call to Courage Award Breakfast this Saturday (April 6th) at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo with a special look back at the “Greatest Comeback in NFL History.”

The high profile breakfast will be held from 9-11 am and Reich will present the 2013 Call to Courage Award to Indianapolis Colts All Pro Center Jeff Saturday. He was named to six Pro Bowls and named First Team All Pro twice in 2005 and 2007.

A special highlight of the program will be the 20th Anniversary celebration of the “Greatest Comeback in NFL History”. Joining Reich for a look back video highlight panel discussion will be former Buffalo Bills greats Andre Reed, Kenneth Davis and Steve Tasker. Buffalobills.com will cover the event.

The honorary chairman for this year’s breakfast will be Buffalo Bills kicker Rian Lindell.

In addition to the NFL winner of the Call to Courage Award, the High School Call to Courage Award will also be given to an outstanding member of a Western New York high school football team. Buffalo Bills play –by-play man, John Murphy is this year’s MC.

A commemorative Limited Edition 20th Anniversary – Greatest Comeback poster will also be made available, exclusively for those in attendance at the breakfast.

GreatestComebackPoster_20th Anniversary (4)

The Call to Courage Award Breakfast is open to the public. Tickets are $40 each and a table of ten is $350. For ticket information call 716-559-1800 or find them on Facebook at aiabuffalo.


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Tasker’s Super Bowl prediction: OT

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 1, 2013 – 10:00 pm

Former Bills great Steve Tasker will have a sideline view of Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday. And he thinks he may be putting in some overtime.

Tasker appeared as a guest on The John Murphy Show Friday night. He’s been in New Orleans all week getting ready for his role as a sideline reporter on the CBS TV broadcast of the Super Bowl.

Tasker told host John Murphy the Baltimore Ravens matchup with the Forty Niners is going to be close.

“I can’t pick a winner in this, even if I wanted to,” Tasker said. “But I think this Super Bowl looks more like an overtime game than any other Super Bowl game I’ve ever been around.”

“The unstoppable force meets the immovable object in this game. I think it’s going to be an overtime game, and I couldn’t tell you who’s going to win it.”

Tasker did say the Forty Niners solid defense is going to be tested by Ravens QB Joe Flacco and his ability to throw the long ball.

“Joe Flacco is throwing the football better than any quarterback has in the National Football League for the last five years. This guy is making throws that most teams won’t even ask their quarterback to think about. And not only are the Ravens asking Joe Flacco to make those throws, they’re calling the plays specifically so Joe Flacco can. This guy makes throws nobody else can. He’s the most accurate deep-ball passer I’ve ever seen. And he’s got as strong an arm as anybody who’s ever played this game.”

The entire interview with Steve Tasker is available at buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Tasker on Reed’s HOF chances

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 1, 2013 – 9:30 pm

Steve Tasker has had plenty of consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recent years. But this weekend, he’s focused on his former Buffalo Bills teammate, Andre Reed, and his chances for election.

The electors for the Hall of Fame meet Saturday morning in New Orleans to elect the class of 2013. And Reed is one of 15-modern era finalists for the honor again.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Friday night, Tasker says he’s obviously rooting for Reed to get into the Hall this year. In New Orleans as part of the CBS Super Bowl broadcast team, Tasker says he talked to Reed earlier this week about being a finalist.

“I have talked to him, we went out a few nights ago on his birthday,” Tasker said on the radio show. “We did talk about it. We’re always hopeful. We all have no doubt that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

“But we also acknowledge that there’s a process that has to be gone through, and that maybe it is his year, maybe it’s not. And we’re not privy to why it would be or why it would not be. So we’re just going to have to wait and see. I encouraged Andre to not let it ruin his weekend, waiting on this to happen. We know it will. Be patient, and when it does happen, it will be all the sweeter, because we were around to enjoy it.”

The entire interview with Steve Tasker is available at buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Tasker on the Super Bowl experience

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 1, 2013 – 8:30 pm

Steve Tasker played in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills. And he’ll be on the field again Sunday, as a CBS sideline reporter for Super Bowl XLVII. It’s the third time Tasker has been tapped to be one of the sideline reporters for the big game.

And with his playing and broadcasting career tied into the Super Bowl, the former Bills special teams ace has a unique perspective on the game. He told The John Murphy Show Friday night that what he likes most about the Super Bowl, is the potential it has to define an NFL players’ career.

“I remember how important it really was to me and the players I played with,” Tasker told host John Murphy. “For the players in that locker room, who are trying to weave their way through the murky waters of Super Bowl week, it really means more than you can say.”

“Their whole life will sometimes center around this game. And they understand that, I think most of them do. They understand how important and how difficult it is to get here. And they live and die with every snap of this game, even before it starts.”

Tasker and the Bills last played in the Super Bowl 19-years ago. But he said on the radio show his memories of the game and the significance it played in his life remain vivid.

“That’s the one thing I remember,” Tasker said. “I was so fully invested in my team and getting us the win, I don’t think I’ve ever been invested in anything like that, before or since. Nothing ever seemed that important to me as that. No event ever seemed as important as that event. It’s neat to see grown men play a game that they think is so important to so many. I really enjoy that part of it, how important it is to these guys.”

The full interview with CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker is available at buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Brandon: We’ve got to get Andre in

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2013 – 2:44 pm

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Bills all-time leading receiver and Wall of Famer Andre Reed is once again a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon when given the opportunity on SiriusXM radio to campaign for Reed laid out why Reed should be enshrined.

“He’s one of the best receivers of his generation,” said Brandon. “That’s what I believe should really be the focal point. The Bills were the winningest team in the AFC in the 90′s. A dominant team with a dominant offense and every single individual associated with our organization and in football will tell you what a big of that offense he was.”

In the next breath Brandon also stumped for Steve Tasker, who was a Hall of Fame semifinalist this year.

“We also need to get Steve Tasker into the Hall of Fame,” said Brandon. “He’s the greatest special teamer of all time. Why is he not in? If you game plan for someone every time he’s on the field, that was Steve Tasker. It’s a third of the game and he needs to be in the Hall of Fame with Andre.”

The HOF Board of Selectors will be whittling down the list of 17 finalists to a maximum of seven for induction on Saturday.


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Wednesday’s John Murphy Show

Posted by johnmurphyshow on December 26, 2012 – 6:09 pm

The AFC/NFL Pro Bowl squads will be announced tonight at 7pm on the NFL Network.  And we’ll see if the Bills put any of their stars into the annual showcase game.  Last year, the Bills were shut out of the big game in Hawaii.

Tonight on The John Murphy Show, we’ll have updates on the Pro Bowl announcement.  Seven-time Pro Bowl selection Steve Tasker joins us at 720pm to talk about his experience in the game, and the disappointing Bills season so far.

AT 8pm, five time Pro Bowl RB Thurman Thomas joins us live on the line to talk about the Bills.  We’ll also ask Thurman to elaborate on his mysterious tweet from last Sunday, when he said on twitter “Can’t share the news I just got, but it is ON LIKE A …. And yes, it involves the Bills ..”  May want to tune in for that.

At 8:20pm, Albert Breer of the NFL Network and NFL.com joins us to talk about the Pro Bowl in the future.  He’s got some ideas on improving the quality of the game.

As usual, we”ll take your phone calls on the Bills and the NFL.

The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7pm-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.


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Reed, Tasker make HOF semifinalist list

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2012 – 2:08 pm

Two former Bills from the four-time AFC title teams have made the list of Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists.

All-time leading receiver Andre Reed and seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Steve Tasker have both been named to the list of semifinalists for the Pro Football HOF class of 2013. There were only 27 semifinalists selected from the initial nominee list of 127 candidates.

Both Reed and Tasker have been semifinalists before. Reed has gone a step further qualifying as a finalist each of the last six years, but has fallen short of enshrinement.

The list of 27 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists.  That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are defensive tackle Curley Culp, (1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs, 1974-1980 Houston Oilers, 1980-81 Detroit Lions) and linebacker Dave Robinson, (1963-1972 Green Bay Packers, 1973-74 Washington Redskins). 

The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January, 2013.


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