It is hard to imagine sports without this baritone and polarizing broadcaster
The NFL season kicks off in September and Joe Buck, 50, and Troy Aikman, 52, will once again be calling FOX's game of the week. Whether you love Joe Buck, hate him, or have neutral feelings about him, it is hard to imagine sports without the baritone voice broadcaster.
FOX must like what it gets from its lead play-by-play announcer for football and baseball. He's also involved in golf coverage as well as other programming for the network, which explains his reported salary of $6 million. But that doesn't include any other ventures or endorsements, as Buck has a reported net worth of $15 million.
Buck is married to wife Michelle-Beisner Buck, who currently is a feature reporter and part of ESPN's NFL programming and formerly worked for NFL Network and was a Denver Broncos cheerleader. The couple married in April 2014 and are the parents to twin boys. Joe Buck also has two other children from his previous marriage (1993-2011) to Ann Archambault.
Here are five other facts about Buck.
1. Joe Buck was born a month before Midnight Cowboy was released
Buck was born on April 25, 1969, and Midnight Cowboy premiered in New York exactly one month later. The film adaptation of James Leo Herlihy's novel tells the story of Joe Buck (Jon Voight), a Texan who moves to New York City to become a prostitute to wealthy women and fails miserably. Along the way, he meets and forms a friendship with a con man named Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman). When Americans thought of Joe Buck for the next 25 years, they thought of Hoffman screaming, "I'm walking here" and an oaf trying to get women to pay him for sex. Then Buck was hired by FOX to broadcast NFL games in 1994 and his career took off. Today, most Americans associate the name with the sportscaster and only cinephiles think of Midnight Cowboy.
2. He is the son of Jack Buck
Buck's father, Jack, was a broadcasting legend. He called play-by-play for the St. Louis Cardinals for KMOX Radio for 47 years and called MLB games for ABC and CBS and pro football contests for ABC, CBS, and NBC. Buck actually called Cardinals games with his father on KMOX in the 1990s.
3. He is the youngest person to ever call an NFL game and World Series
When FOX hired Buck in 1994, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a season of NFL games on network television. FOX made him lead play-by-play man for its MLB coverage in 1996 and that year he became the youngest to ever a call a complete World Series game. Since then, he has called Super Bowls, the Cotton Bowl, and the U.S. Open golf tournament.
4. He is accused of having a perceived bias
During his 25-plus years at FOX, Buck has been criticized on numerous fronts. Some of the critiques have been valid and some have been ridiculous, but one of the biggest is a perceived bias when calling games. It used to just be allegations that he had a bias towards the Cardinals, but any team is now fair game as Kansas City Royals fans proved in 2015 when they launched a Change.org petition to have Buck removed from calling the game one of the American League Championship Series. Their gripe was that Buck showed more love for the San Francisco Giants in their team's loss in the World Series the year before, stating: "For example, on October 29th, 2014, Joe Buck said Bumgarner 87 times, Giants 56 times, San Francisco 24 times, Kansas City 13 times, and Royals 8 times." Even though the petition received 13,683 signatures, Buck still did play-by-play for the game.
And to Buck's credit, he seems to have a good sense of humor about this perception. He has appeared in numerous commercials and television shows and has displayed an ability to laugh at himself. That is clear in the below Funny or Die bit where he is trying to tape a promo for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York but keeps being interrupted.
5. Hair plugs almost cost him his career
As everyone is well aware, physical appearance is just as important, if not more so, when it comes to becoming a star in front of the camera as the other skills that are necessary to do the job. In Buck's case, his lifelong fear of losing his hair caused him to turn to hair replacement treatments. As he documented in his 2016 memoir, Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, And The Things I'm Not Allowed To Say On TV, Buck had his first procedure done when he was 24 years old and he subsequently became addicted to it.
"Broadcasting is a brutal, often unfair business, where looks are valued more than skill," he writes. "I was worried that if I lost my hair, I would lose my job. O.K., that's bulls----. It was vanity. Pure vanity. I just told myself I was doing it for TV."
This addiction resulted in a very scary incident prior to the start of the 2011 baseball season when anesthesia administered during the hair replacement procedure resulted in vocal cord paralysis. Initially claiming he contracted a virus on the nerves of his vocal cords, Buck was somewhat limited but able to continue his broadcasting duties for FOX. Fortunately, he made a full recovery and revealed around the release of his memoir the true reason for his ailment.
As you can expect, Buck has not had any hair replacement procedures since that 2011 incident, so rest assured what you see up top on TV these days is 100 percent natural.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo courtesy of www.foxsports.com)