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Sixteen former Bills among 2014 Hall of Fame nominees

By Tim Graham

The Pro Football Hall of Fame today revealed the list of nominees for 2014 inductions.

The Buffalo Bills don't have any representatives who are first-year eligible, but 16 holdovers have been affiliated with the team.

Quarterback

  • Drew Bledsoe
  • Doug Flutie

Running back

  • Larry Centers

Wide receiver

  • Andre Reed

Offensive line

  • Kent Hull

Defensive line

  • Fred Smerlas
  • Ted Washington

Linebacker

  • Cornelius Bennett
  • Darryl Talley

Defensive back

  • Troy Vincent

Special teams

  • Steve Tasker

Coaches/Contributors

  • Tom Flores
  • Chuck Knox
  • Lou Saban
  • Marty Schottenheimer
  • Bill Polian

Neither Flores nor Schottenheimer was Bills head coach, but each played for them in the 1960s. Flores was the Bills' quarterbacks coach in 1971.

The full list of nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in late November and to 15 finalists in early January.

The 2014 class will be voted upon by the Hall of Fame's Board of Selectors, of which Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan is a member, the day before the Super Bowl.

Radio show with Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker starts tonight

By Jay Skurski

Bills greats Andre Reed, Jim Kelly and Steve Tasker will team up again this season for a radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

No Huddle starts tonight at 7 p.m. and the hour-long show will air in that time slot every Wednesday during the NFL season. The show, which is in its second season, airs on Ch. 88 for Sirius and XM Premier subscribers.

CBS Sports reveals broadcast assignments; Bills get variety

By Tim Graham

CBS Sports has named its broadcaster tandems for the 2013 season and revealed assignments for the first four weeks of games.

This year's pairings will be:

  • Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
  • Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf
  • Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts
  • Marv Albert and Rich Gannon
  • Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots
  • Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker
  • Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein

Assignments for Bills games will be:

  • Week 1, Patriots at Bills, Gumbel and Dierdorf
  • Week 2, Panthers at Bills, (on Fox Sports)
  • Week 3, Bills at Jets, Albert and Gannon
  • Week 4, Ravens at Bills, Eagle and Fouts

Marv Levy ranked 17th on list of 20 greatest NFL coaches

By Tim Graham

To celebrate what would've been Vince Lombardi's 100th birthday on June 11, ESPN is counting down its 20 greatest NFL coaches.

Buffalo Bills immortal Marv Levy came in at No. 17.

For the series, here's what Jim Kelly had to say about his coach:

"I think Marv Levy's biggest achievement is keeping his team mentally focused year after year after year, especially during that run of four Super Bowls. We went five years to the AFC Championship Game. Everybody knows you've got to be physically prepared for the game. If you're not, you're not going to make it. But to be able to mentally prepare your football team after a devastating loss, and forget about what happened the year before or the year before or the year before, and the resiliency our football team had, it started with Marv Levy. I know we wouldn't have gone to four Super Bowls in a row without Marv Levy.

"Probably the most influential thing about him was the way he handled the players on his team. If you remember, the guys we had -- Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker -- we had a bunch of different personalities, and we all had egos. Early on in Marv's career and our careers, we knew if we didn't come together as a team, it didn't matter how many superstars we had, we wouldn't make it. He made sure to make each individual understand that if we didn't put our egos to the side, we wouldn't achieve our goals. He could communicate to players in a way where we totally understood it. He was never the rah-rah, in-your-face type of guy. It was the old cliché: It's not what you said, but how you said it. Marv always knew what to say and how to say it.

"It clicked probably in 1988. The Bickering Bills came and I had something to do with that. Everybody did to a certain point. We went to the AFC Championship Game in 1988. We knew our football team was talented. In 1989, our egos started getting in the way, including myself. Marv knew what we could achieve, but we couldn't if we started pointing fingers at each other.

"To go back to back to back to back, that will never happen again. Nope. Period. The further we're removed from those games, the more people appreciate what we did. And it started with our head coach, Marv Levy."

Kelly, Reed, Tasker join for weekly NFL radio show

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills greats Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Steve Tasker will host a new show on Sirius XM NFL Radio called "No Huddle."

The show will make its debue at 7 p.m. Wednesday and cover a preview of the NFL Draft. Then it will run every week during the NFL season on Wednesday evenings. It is on Channel 88 for Sirius subscribers and XM Premier subscribers.

"Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Steve Tasker are among the best ever to play in the NFL at their respective positions," said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and chief content officer. "We're thrilled to bring these guys together to re-capture the excitement of those talented Buffalo Bills teams of the late '80s and '90s and talk NFL with our listeners every week."

Continue reading "Kelly, Reed, Tasker join for weekly NFL radio show" »

Luke Tasker, J.C. Tretter take next steps toward NFL dreams

By Tim Graham

A pair of NFL prospects from Western New York participated in Cornell's pro day Friday, and their workout was overseen by another local.

Kenmore native and former NFL offensive-line coach Jim McNally put wide receiver Luke Tasker (St. Francis) and guard J.C. Tretter (Akron) through various events Friday at Cornell University.

Tretter was the focal point. He's projected as a mid-round draft choice and was invited to last month's NFL scouting combine, as Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski wrote then.

Continue reading "Luke Tasker, J.C. Tretter take next steps toward NFL dreams" »

Video: 'SNL' spoofs Steve Tasker

By Tim Graham

Although it didn't quite reach "Wake Up and Smile" levels of desperation, "Saturday Night Live" opened this weekend's show with a parody of how the CBS Sports crew handled the Super Bowl XLVII power outage.

Buffalo Bills legend Steve Tasker hasn't been able to crack the list of Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists, but being lampooned on "SNL" is a pop-culture badge of honor.

SNL player Taran Killam played Tasker, who had his Anderson Cooper moment during the Superdome brownout. Tasker had the only working earpiece-microphone combo when the power went out and delayed the game for 35 minutes.

Steve Tasker when Superdome went dark: 'You want to choke'

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Steve Tasker was supposed to report on a football game and found himself covering a news event Sunday night at Super Bowl XLVII.

A Superdome power outage delayed the championship game for about 35 minutes in the third quarter. While the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers milled about in the darkness and the world wondered what was happening, Tasker was the first member of the CBS Sports crew to have a live microphone and communication with the production truck.

A sideline sound technician gave Tasker a working earpiece. Before the Buffalo Bills Wall of Famer knew it, the telecast was returning from a commercial break, and executive producer Lance Barrow was in his ear.

"It was pretty cool to be a part of," Tasker told me, "even though it makes you want to choke.

"He told me I was taking it out of commercial. He told me, 'Tell us what you know. Reset the game. Tell us where we're at, and then we'll go back to commercial.' "

Five, four, three, two ...

"I wasn't even on camera," Tasker said. "We didn't have operational cameras on my side of the stadium. The first thing I wanted people to know was that we were safe and sound. I didn't want any panic. I wanted to calm everybody."

The second time the telecast went to Tasker out of a commercial break, he was able to introduce the other sideline reporter, Solomon Wilcots. By then, the CBS Sports studio announcers had regained power and took over the broadcast while getting field reports from Tasker and Wilcots until the game resumed.

"It's certainly not what anybody expected to have happen," Tasker said. "But we've got a lot of people that have done a lot of television, and nobody seemed flustered. We knew it was a moment we had to handle very well or we'd get killed for it.

"Lance Barrow and [director] Mike Arnold really hit it out of the park. The production people stayed calm and cool and kept working. I think we came off pretty well because of it."

Tasker, who played in four Super Bowls with the Bills, was working his third Super Bowl as a sideline reporter.

"It was disconcerting," Tasker said. "But there was nothing dangerous going on, and the crowd handled it extremely well. It was good to see, and I'm glad we got through it. I'm glad the game turned into a really, really good one."

Steve Tasker: Super Bowl XLVII destined for sudden death

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Steve Tasker will be a sideline reporter for Sunday's telecast of Super Bowl XLVII and is protecting his objectivity. He refuses to pick a winner.

But the popular Buffalo Bills alum did make one prediction about what will transpire between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

"I predict overtime," Tasker told me today in the Super Bowl XLVII media center. "The head coaches may as well be twins. The teams are built with the same philosophy. They look alike when you watch them practice.

Continue reading "Steve Tasker: Super Bowl XLVII destined for sudden death" »

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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