November 8, 1986 -- Usually when a player is picked up on the waiver wire in the middle of a football season, it means little. This day saw an exception.
Buffalo claimed wide receiver Steve Tasker on waivers from the Houston Oilers. Tasker had played college football at Dodge City Community College and Northwestern University. He was a ninth round draft choice of the Oilers, and played a season and one-half there. He caught two passes as an Oiler.
Then Tasker came to Buffalo, and found a home. If you throw out kickers, punters, and kick and punt returners, he might be the best, and most famous, special-teams player in the history of the league. Tasker practically invented the "gunner" position, someone who lined up wide on punts and raced down the field to make tackles and plays. He had a similar role on kickoffs.
Tasker played in seven Pro Bowls, and was even the most valuable player of that all-star game in 1993. He is on the Bills' Wall of Fame.
Off the field, Tasker proved to be a eloquent spokesman for the team in a variety of situations. You knew he'd fit in somewhere in football after retirement, and he has put together a fine career as a commentator and commercial spokesman since he stopped playing.
And essentially, it all started on this date. It was seemingly a minor move that turned out well for everyone, except the Oilers.
--- Budd Bailey