Steve Tasker doesn't get to work many Buffalo Bills game as a CBS analyst, but when he does, the ex-Bills special teams star knows he can’t win with some fans on social media.
"Some people say, 'Why are you such a homer?' Others say, 'Why do you hate your old team so much?' " he said during a telephone interview. "I don't engage."
He is ready for those conflicting comments at 1 p.m. Sunday on WIVB-TV (Channel 4) when he is part of a three-man team covering the game between the surprisingly 3-1 Bills and the 1-3 Cincinnati Bengals.
Although Tasker does the Bills preseason games, makes frequent appearances on "The John Murphy Show" and used to play for the Bills during their glory years, he said he doesn't have any problems being impartial during CBS games.
"No, not at all. I look at the game analytically," he explained. "I am a real positive person. I am cheering players who play well no matter what jersey they are wearing. It is just like another game to me."
Tasker has been affected by CBS' reorganization of its NFL coverage this season, replacing Phil Simms with Tony Romo as lead analyst, adding James Lofton as an analyst and letting go Solomon Wilcots.
He isn't working as a CBS analyst this season as often as he has in his 20 years with the network. A year ago, he remembered, he worked 12 or 13 games as an analyst.
This season, Tasker is scheduled to work about seven games as an analyst and three or four games as a sideline reporter. Sunday's game is his second as an analyst this season and he isn't scheduled to work another one as an analyst for the rest of the month.
In the CBS reorganization, Tasker no longer is teamed as an analyst with play-by-play man Andrew Catalon, whom he worked with at CBS for the last three seasons and parts of three Bills preseasons. Lofton is now teamed with Catalon. However, Tasker did work the first two games of the season with Catalon as a sideline reporter.
Tasker is now teamed with play-by-play man Tom McCarthy and fellow analyst Steve Beuerlein. Tasker has worked with Beuerlein for several seasons, most recently together with Catalon.
"I'm glad to be on the team," he said of CBS, adding that he loves the culture of the network and the way it does business.
Since he realizes he is low in the CBS rotation of analysts, Tasker is used to changing play-by-play men. Of course, he misses the friendship he developed with Catalon. But he added he also enjoyed working with play-by-play men Don Criqui and Gus Johnson before being teamed with Catalon. He is looking forward to working with McCarthy, who also is the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Tasker conceded he has been surprised by the Bills' early success under new head coach Sean McDermott.
"Yeah, a little bit," said Tasker. "I didn't know they put it together so quickly. I kind of thought they had more talent than they showed last year, but they changed quite a bit of personnel."
And what does he expect Sunday, besides the social media bashing?
"It should be a really good game," he said. "The Bengals record ignores that they missed a field goal in regulation that would have beaten the Green Bay Packers. They've found their identity. The key words this season have been 'coaching matters.' The Bengals changed offensive coordinators, and it has been all the difference."