The Joe Buck-Troy Aikman combination, the longest active NFL broadcast booth pairing, is one so many NFL fans have come to enjoy over the years. The 2022 season with ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” will be their 21st together in the booth. They have called the Super Bowl six times.
So how was ESPN, which announced it had signed both to multi-year deals on Wednesday, able to pry away the duo from Fox Sports? In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Buck opened up about his departure di lui from the network.
SPORTS NEWSLETTER:Sign up now for daily updates sent to your inbox
NFL FREE AGENCY:Winners, losers after first wave of deals and trades
“I don’t know,” Buck told SI when asked why Fox let the duo leave the network. “They have their reasons and they have their business that they’re running, and Troy had an out and he had a chance to go out on the market and see what he (could) get. But I think all along, his No. 1 choice of him was to go back to Fox, and that’s what I was hoping for and that didn’t materialize. “
Still, Buck said he wasn’t “hurt” by Fox’s decision to let him out of his contract and doesn’t hold any ill will toward the network and its executives, but, rather, that he’s grateful for the time he had there.
Buck had one year left in his contact with Fox before the network let him explore a deal with ESPN after it hired Aikman, according to the New York Post. Because of their time spent together in the booth, Buck said that once he knew Aikman would be going to ESPN, he started to consider his future after Fox and “leaned more” to the option that he would join Aikman at ESPN in one year – after his Fox contract expired – no matter what.
“At this point, I wanted a known quantity next to me,” Buck said. “I think this business is more intense. As I’m coming up on 30 years in it, it’s more intense now than it’s ever been. With the amount of scrutiny that’s out there, I felt like we have a good thing. I know where he’s going. He knows where I’m going. If it was at all possible, I wanted to try to continue that. I don’t care about – we’re one year shy of tying (John) Madden and (Pat) Summerall – and all that. It’s just about two guys who enjoy working with each other and feel comfortable. That’s this business. “
Buck’s deal at ESPN, according to the New York Post, is five years and worth between $ 60-75 million, while Aikman’s is five years and $ 90 million.
With Buck out at Fox, it means he will no longer be the voice of the World Series. While at the network, Buck called 24 of them. He said he’s at peace with it, that the series “needs a different voice” but he didn’t rule out calling baseball games at ESPN at some point in the future.
“I mean, over the course of the next five years, could I find myself sitting in a baseball stadium doing a game? Maybe, ”Buck said. “But that’s not the plan.”
Buck joined Fox in 1994. When he called a full slate of NFL games at the age of 25, he became the youngest play-by-play announcer to do so. Two years after that, he became the youngest play-by-play announcer to call the World Series, at the age of 27.