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Joe Buck: John Smoltz, Troy Aikman Make My October Schedule Possible

“That personal relationship that I have with both guys is what makes that month not only work, but fun.”

Ricky Keeler

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FOX Sports

Next month, Joe Buck will be calling both Thursday Night Football games and MLB postseason games for FOX. October has to be a crazy month for Buck because he is constantly traveling to call some of the most-watched events on the sports calendar. 

On the latest episode of the Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen podcast, Buck got into his broadcasting journey that started about the same time Eisen started his career in Northern California. Buck mentioned that his relationships with both John Smoltz and Troy Aikman are never more important than they are in October.

“I know that if I’ve been gone from Troy and I walk in and I do a Thursday game and I’ve been doing Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday baseball, he’s ready to go and he knows I’m ready to go. I can lean on him a little bit that week. Then, I come back to baseball, and either I’m tired leading into the game. If I’m trying to scramble and get ready, I can lean on John on the baseball side. That personal relationship that I have with both guys is what makes that month not only work, but fun.”

Joe Buck got to call his first World Series for FOX at 27-years-old. While he was extatic to be in New York and Atlanta for that World Series, that was never his goal.

“I wanted to be my dad and to me in my mind, being my dad meant being the Cardinals announcer. Anything beyond that was stuff I never even thought of.”

Buck began calling football games for FOX in 1994. He told Eisen he had never called football before. Fortunately, there was his dad…and this time, his mom too.

“I had done MLB at that point for 4 years, I did minor league baseball for 2 years prior to that, I had done some other things, but I’d never done football. When FOX got the rights, they sent a call out to agents, to people to have their clients audition. I went out there for an audition based on my mom giving my soon-to-be boss, Ed Goren’s wife, Patty, my baseball tape…That  got me in the door for the audition and then I worked on calling football with my dad in his living room at spring training 1994.”

“I flew to LA and I went into the studio and Bob Stenner is talking to me in my headset and I’m sitting next to Tim Green and we call a game off a television monitor. I knew it was going well, but I walked out of the audition and George Krieger, who was one of the bosses at the time at FOX, said you better get an agent because we are going to hire you…It was kind of crazy.”

Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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