In full bloom, Joe Buck has the kind of voice that can rattle the china in grandma’s living room.
But Buck is still recovering from a virus that tackled his laryngeal nerve in mid-February. The condition left his voice thin and raspy.
But judging from his call of the Packers at Bears game Sunday on Fox, Buck’s voice has recovered much of its force. But it’s not all the way back. Granny’s china is safe for the moment.
Buck’s voice is still lacking at those moments in a football game when an announcer needs it the most – big plays, including touchdowns. At those times in the Bears-Packers game, Buck became a kind of version of Ray Scott – flat, understated and if not quite that unemotional then less emotional than he is used to delivering.
When he is full-throated, Buck is never drowned out by crowd noise. But in some of the scores in the game Sunday, that’s exactly what happened.
In the second quarter, for example, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler found wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher for a four-yard scoring pass. In a contest between the Soldier Field din and Buck’s usually big bass voice, it wasn’t even a contest. Din in a walkover.
Buck’s call (“Cutler. Over the middle. Sanzenbacher with the touchdown.”) didn’t have chance.
To these ears, it sounded as though Buck backed off the volume on most of these big plays. His voice did not zoom up and boom to meet the moment. It was more of that Ray Scott polite, matter-of-fact approach.
For example, take Buck’s call when Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers found tight Jermichael Finley for his second touchdown catch.
“Fakes a handoff,” Buck said. “Rodgers throws. And a touchdown. And again it’s Jermichael Finley.”
He just did not grab that moment in the manner that it deserved.
Buck’s voice for the garden variety plays sounded in better shape as the game progressed.
It sounded a bit foggy at times in the first quarter. But the fog lifted as the game unfolded. By the end, you would not know there was any difference in Buck’s voice, except for those big moments when he needed it the most.
Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where this story was originally published.