Joe Buck is one of the best announcers in sports, but as with anybody that's rich and famous and ubiquitous, a lot of people don't like him. Or specifically, they don't like how serious he sounds all the time. Even during some of the craziest moments in sports, he sounds like such an adult.
No play proves the skeptic's point better than this one, from Super Bowl XLII:
To his credit, though, Buck recently joined Twitter, and isn't afraid to answer critics directly.
So he brought up the helmet catch on Tuesday night. It began with this:
And then this:
...and he continues on for several more tweets explaining himself, before ending with these:
I'm not one of those people who hates Joe Buck, because he seems like a genuinely kind, honest dude, and either way who really cares that much about a play-by-play announcer? But if we're going to teach a "class" on sports broadcasting, let's get a few things on the record.
1. If there was ever a time to completely lose your mind as an announcer, it was the helmet catch by Tyree. That's the most insane play we'd ever seen in a Super Bowl, and nothing's come close since. And Joe Buck barely loosened his tie for the call. That's okay. Losing his mind isn't what Joe Buck does best; but again, it's what that particular play deserved. On that front, Joe Buck failed.
2. As for Joe Buck's explanation--that LIVE sports mean you have to blah blah blah--this is where it's Joe Buck that needs the lesson. Because it's actually fine to get a play wrong, even if you're working in front of 100 million people. If you lose your mind and it turns out the player didn't make the catch, or there was a flag, or he stepped out of bounds, or... whatever, really, then that makes you no different than the 100 million fans who probably freaked out exactly the same way, watching at home. Mistakes like that can even be endearing. This is why millions of Americans adore Gus Johnson--because every now and then he's reduced to shouting gibberish just like the rest of us.
3. Especially in the era of blogs and Twitter, the curtain of professionalism separating Us from Them is disappearing. The ones who thrive see themselves as among us, not above us. Even if that means "pulling a groin" on a "multi-layered" play, where you might get it wrong or miss something and you run the risk of sounding like (*gasp*) a fan.
For reference: Another long pass with a chaotic, confusing ending.
The Gus-gear isn't in Buck's repertoire, and that's alright. It probably wouldn't be in mine or yours if you put us on TV in front of 100 million people. But if we're teaching a class on broadcasting, let's just put this on record: The definition of an A+ is changing, whether Joe Buck knows it or not.