Remaining from the Bills woe-for-four squad are Hall of Fame candidacies of the late Kent Hull, the first really good shotgun center, and Steve Tasker. Hull will be considered someday in the old-timer category, and if the shotgun continues to dominate offenses, his chances will be solid. Tasker should be invited promptly. He's the best special teamer ever, plus the only special teams player ever named MVP of the Pro Bowl (1993). While there is a place-kicker and, with the Ray Guy selection, a punter in Canton, there is no special teamer. If launching punts is important enough to deserve Hall of Fame recognition, isn't blocking punts and stopping punt returners? Tasker had seven blocked punts and 204 special teams tackles; he returned kicks, was the holder for placement kicks; and when pressed into service as an emergency wide receiver, had a 108-yard day in a playoff game. At 5-foot-9, 180, pound-for-pound Tasker was one of the top modern-era performers in football.
Football Teams Should Wait Their Turns Like Everyone Else: Your columnist pounds the table about police escorts and stopped traffic not for visiting heads of state but for minor government officials, celebrities and football teams. A friend who lives and commutes in the near New York part of New Jersey wrote last week, "Police escorts everywhere. Today I saw troopers blocking the eastbound on ramp to Route 24 just south of Morristown Airport, as well as local the side streets, so when the Broncos left the Jets facility they could cruise right onto the highway. This was at 5:15 p.m. -- height of rush hour and caused an incredible traffic backup. Thankfully, I was heading west."
Your Honor, the Runner Pleads the Fifth: A leftover from TMQ's notebook: During the Dolphins at Bills contest, the referee announced, "Miami is challenging the ruling on the play, alleging that the runner stepped out of bounds."
Season-Ending Book Thoughts: Last week in New York for that Super Bowl thing you might have heard about, I lunched with my literary agent. I feared he would tell me the book market was in such a swoon that I should change careers. Actually he said my chances of another book advance this year were strong, which was music to my ears.
Then we discussed the transition from printed books to electronic; next up is electronic books that generate sound effects. I'm far from the only one who wishes this were not happening. But ever since Gutenberg, the book business has been in turmoil from innovation, and almost always weighed down by predictions of doom. Charles Dickens often said he believed he was part of the final generation that would write books. (Then the issue was lax enforcement of copyright law.) Electronic books have many virtues: you can carry a 1,000-page history book -- or 20 1,000-page history books -- when traveling. Soon it should be possible to have the equivalent of the Great Library of Alexandria in one small device, and the contents of the Library of Congress won't be far behind. Professors' offices may no longer be book-lined, but that seems a small concession to nostalgia.