Joe Buck insists he isn't fazed about calling two NFL games during several weeks this year thanks to his new Thursday Night Football duties.
Buck points out that as the one-time baseball announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, he worked 162 games in a season. That meant often calling seven games in a week. More is better as far as Buck is concerned.
"That's just the way I'm wired," Buck said. "Doing two games a week is fun. I find it invigorating. Doing two games in one week is not a big deal. I'll let other people make it sound like a big deal. It's not."
Buck will be on the call Thursday night when Minnesota visits the Los Angeles Rams. It will mark the first game to air on FOX as part of the new Thursday night package. The game also will air on NFL Network and will be streamed live on Amazon Prime Video.
This will be Buck's third Thursday night game of the year; the other two aired exclusively on NFL Network. After calling Cleveland's thrilling victory over the New York Jets last Thursday, Buck and his TV partner Troy Aikman did double duty on FOX's coverage of the Dallas-Seattle game on Sunday. Buck sees advantages in the quick turnaround.
"Sometimes, when you do the NFL, and you go week to week, and you've got six days, in essence, to stew about one game, by the time you get to Sunday, in your mind, the game is kind of worn out," Buck said. "You've got so many notes and so much stuff piled up, you end up burying yourself in what's already happened and not really looking at what's going on in front of you."
"As strange as it sounds, we've been more refreshed going into the broadcast," Aikman said. "We have less time to lock down on two particular teams."
Buck and Aikman are slated to call two games in weeks when FOX has the late afternoon doubleheader games on Sunday. Since CBS has the doubleheader game this week, Aikman will be home this Sunday. The new schedule affords him opportunities he didn't have in his previous 17 Sunday-filled years at FOX; such as getting to see his stepson's high school football games.
"It's been great. I've really enjoyed it," Aikman said.
Buck is enjoying the dynamics involved in doing the Thursday night games. Being the only game on the schedule means the telecast doesn't get interrupted with scoring updates from other games, as is the case on Sundays. That gives Buck and Aikman more time to dig deeper into issues and tell more stories. Buck says the telecast also requires a different flair since it competes against prime-time programming on other networks. It allows him to go "a little bit off the cuff."
"You feel like you have to be a little more entertaining," Buck said. "If somebody is flipping by the Big Bang Theory and they come upon the game, I don't think you can be textbook, cut-and-dried, talking about two-deep zones. You have to bring other stuff in. You have to have fun. You have to interact as a group."
Thus far, Buck says, so far, so good.
"I think we've come up with a pretty good balance of football and fun," Buck said.
New show: The Vikings-Rams game marks the debut of FOX NFL Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video. Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long will be live from New York with their analysis leading up to the game.
The evening coverage begins with NFL GameDay Kickoff on NFL Network at 6 p.m. ET. Host Colleen Wolfe and analysts Kurt Warner, Steve Mariucci and Reggie Bush will be live from outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
After the game on NFL Network, Wolfe, Warner, Mariucci and Bush handle the postgame show from the field and are joined by a star of the game live on-set.
Additional postgame coverage continues with NFL Total Access at Midnight ET. The panel features Scott Hanson, Lindsay Rhodes, Willie McGinest and David Carron.
His life: Tony Romo gets his turn with the new edition of A Football Life Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network. The film details how Romo went from an unknown free agent to one of the game's biggest stars as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.
Says Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the film: "We have the Ring of Honor. I don't think of anybody that could be more deserving than someone that's made a huge contribution to this franchise than Tony Romo."