Why does Joe Buck suck?
With the football world’s eyes on Arlington, Texas this weekend for a premier NFL playoff matchup between Green Bay and Dallas, much of the pre-game conversation is on the man set to announce it — Joe Buck, who remains one of the most hated sports broadcasters on television.
Fans loathe the Fox play-by-play man so much, in fact, that they created a petition to ban Buck and on-air partner Troy Aikman from announcing Green Bay Packers games.
“This is a petition to get Joe Buck and Troy Aikman banned from announcing/commentating on the Green Bay Packers,” the petition reads. “On behalf of the Green Bay Packers fans across the world, we would like action taken to prohibit them from giving their constant negative input about our team. We are sick of the biased announcing always coming from them.”
As of Friday afternoon, more than 25,000 people have signed the petition, which might seem like a remarkable amount of hatred for a broadcaster.
But the “Joe Buck sucks” narrative is nothing new.
There are anti-Buck Facebook groups. An endless supply of anti-Buck memes. “Joe Buck Sucks” chants at baseball games. When the MLB or NFL playoffs commence, so does a new wave of Buck hatred.
Let’s take a look at why fans despise this broadcaster so much.
They say he’s biased
It’s easy to play the bias card when critiquing any broadcaster, but Buck — Fox’s premier national football and baseball announcer — seems to get this one a lot. Fans often go to extreme lengths to mock his love for particular players.
During the Chicago Cubs’ World Series run, fans thought Buck had a particular affinity for slugger Kyle Schwarber. So, someone decided to make them a wedding registry.
Buck defended his broadcasting in 2012, highlighting the fact that during the regular season fans are accustomed to hearing their team’s regular broadcaster, not an objective (in theory), national announcer.
“It’s easily explainable in the baseball world,” Buck said, per SFGate. “Fans are used to hearing their hometown guys. When you come at it objectively, people aren’t used to it. It gets frustrating.”
They say he’s only successful because of his daddy
Of course, there is also the nepotism factor. Buck’s dad, Jack, was a revered sportscaster with Hall of Fame honors in baseball, football and radio. That paints an easy target on Buck, whom fans say embodies nepotism.
I’ve never seen anyone in life who’s had more handed to them just because who their daddy was than Joe @Buck
— John Davidson (@jjd61882) October 26, 2016
Fox hired Buck when he was just 25, and he soon became the youngest World Series play-by-play broadcaster in history.
“I’m my dad’s kid, and I’m still, right or wrong, fighting that uphill battle, and I’m not saying that makes sense,” Buck said in 2012. “I mean my dad didn’t hire me at Fox… but it certainly gave me my start, and I think I’m always kind of fighting that.”
They say he’s simply not a good broadcaster
Buck’s voice is undeniably great, a beautiful baritone tailor-made for broadcasting. But the way he uses it, some say, leaves a lot to be desired.
The strongest announcers have an innate ability to paint a scene, bring life and depth to sport. Buck, on the other hand, is criticized for stating the obvious too often, relying on his voice and tone to build the drama, not the words themselves.
“His call of a game is sparse, and that’s different from using an economy of words,” one Reddit user said. “Some guys can say a little and deliver a lot. I feel like Buck says little and delivers little, leaving whoever calls the game with him to fill up the dead air.”
Here’s a great example of Buck’s minimal commentary (accompanied in this instance by former World Series Fox color commentator, Tim McCarver in 2013) which made its way around a “Why does everybody hate Joe Buck?” subreddit.
Commentary like that is useless when fans can see for themselves that it’s a ball outside, or strike two, or a foul back to the screen.
Everytime Joe Buck and Troy Aikman call a game, I feel like I’m in a retirement home. Their style of calling is so damn BORING
— abdikaream (@SomalianScotty) January 8, 2017
To his credit, though, Buck seems unfazed by the ungodly levels of criticism heaped upon him, and remarkably self-aware. Buck’s own Twitter bio reads, “I love all teams EXCEPT yours,” clearly a jab at his haterz. He also appeared in this hilarious FunnyOrDie sketch, basically spoofing himself.
He’s a good sport about it, and some say his broadcasting chops have improved in recent years, particularly during the Cubs’ World Series run last year.
“Joe Buck’s performance in the booth has been one of the many bright spots in this exciting World Series, and when the time to call the final play early Thursday morning, he capped it off beautifully,” Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote on ForTheWin.
“His excitement shone through, he was clear and concise, and then in the mold of Scully, he got out of the way,” Kerr-Dineen wrote. “This was not a moment that needed excess hype. Buck delivered his call simply and perfectly, and this moment will live on fondly for years to come as a result.”
Clearly, Packers fans aren’t convinced.
And it’s not like their petition will accomplish anything. Buck’s contract with Fox Sports expires after the 2019 World Series, a point at which Buck said he may retire.
Until then, the Joe Buck haters will simply have to make due with the mute button.