Joe Buck speaks with IU students about Super Bowl preparation via webcam

Joe Buck speaks to students through webcam in lobby of Media School

Joe Buck speaks to students through webcam in Franklin Hall Lobby.

In the midst of a hectic week leading up to Super Bowl 54, play-by-play broadcaster Joe
Buck, LHD’16, took a break from his schedule to speak to Media School students live from Miami.

He appeared via webcast on the Franklin Hall commons screen two days before his sixth Super Bowl game to talk to students about how he prepares.

Buck, Fox’s head football, baseball and golf play-by-play broadcaster, attended IU in the late ‘80s and
early ‘90s before leaving to begin his broadcasting career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

There is a slim margin of error for major games like the Super Bowl, so communication is key. He has an important relationship with Troy Aikman, who has been Buck’s color commentator on every Super Bowl Buck has called. After years of sitting next to each other, Buck said they know when to flow off one another.

Buck showed students the broadcast game sheet he uses to prepare to call a game. He fills out information about each team and player in advance and then refers back to it during the broadcast. His preparation methods vary by sport though — for example, in baseball, startup lineups are announced on a day-to-day basis, so Buck has to wait until he gets to the studio to create his pre-game sheet. It’s a “race against the clock,” he said.

Buck said he embraces the pressure of calling a big game and that he ignores his critics on social media, focusing on his supporters instead. He’s been part of some of the biggest sports moments of the 21st Century, including the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series and the 2016 Chicago Cubs victory.

He has to think carefully about what to say during potentially historic moments. Sometimes, he said it’s best to not speak and allow the stadium energy to take over.

Buck’s father, Jack Buck, was the play-by-play broadcaster for Super Bowl 4 — which the Kansas City Chiefs also won — 50 years ago. They’re the only father-son duo to both call the Super Bowl.