Tom Brady’s Improbable Super Bowl 51 Comeback Still Holds a Special Place in Joe Buck’s Heart

Article Highlights:

  • Joe Buck still holds Tom Brady’s comeback in Super Bowl 51 close to his heart
  • The Pro Football Hall of Fame announcer called that game for Fox in 2017
  • Many of Buck’s favorite calls have come from the past decade

When the New England Patriots took the field for Super Bowl 51, some naive football fans likely thought that night could have been Tom Brady’s final game. If so, Fox Sports’ Joe Buck had an opportunity to call the last time the Michigan product would hold the Lombardi Trophy atop his head.

So much for that one. Nearly five years later, Brady is still going strong, and Buck, who provided the soundtrack for the quarterback’s rally from a 28-3 deficit, clearly hasn’t forgotten about that memorable night in Houston.

Tom Brady’s Super Bowl 51 comeback holds a special place in Joe Buck’s heart

Even in 2021, “28-3” is as much of an iconic sports number as 762 (home runs hit by Barry Bonds), 27 (championships won by the New York Yankees), and (Chad) Ochocinco. 

However, when Buck thinks about Super Bowl 51, he thinks of the game as “25-3,” as he explained in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports. It is worth noting the Atlanta Falcons never led by 22 points; Matt Ryan’s third-quarter hookup with running back Tevin Coleman came when the Falcons led 21-3 less than seven minutes after returning from halftime.

When he spoke with Yahoo, Buck discussed how he felt he needed to keep the audience entertained during a Super Bowl blowout. Fox averaged 111.3 million viewers that night in a game many at home felt was over in the third quarter.

Few quarterbacks, Buck rationalized, could have rallied their team at that point and made the game worth watching again. 

“Then you go, ‘Wait, it is Brady,’ and OK, there’s a touchdown, and there’s another touchdown and a two-point conversion. And it’s like, maybe this can happen, and then they get closer, closer, they get there, they tie it, and then they win it in overtime. … You don’t give up on a play or a game as the broadcaster.”

Joe Buck

Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Running back James White took a pitch nearly four minutes into overtime and scored the game-winning touchdown, a play forever associated with Buck’s voice.

“Toss to White; he’s in! Patriots win the Super Bowl! Brady has his fifth! What a comeback!” Buck called on Fox.

Buck also offered lofty praise for two extremely notable playoff games

Brady’s legendary comeback isn’t the only memorable game Buck still treasures calling at Fox. In his conversation with Yahoo, he reminisced on the Minneapolis Miracle, which occurred less than a year after Super Bowl 51.

Trailing 23-23 with 10 seconds left in the 2017 NFC Divisional Round, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum fired a 27-yard pass to Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs. Had Diggs stepped out of bounds, the Vikings would have had enough time (he caught the ball and turned upfield with four seconds left) to attempt a 50- or 51-yard field goal, depending on the spot.

“Everybody in the stadium, including me, was expecting that, if they did connect on that pass and completed [it], he would just almost, by reaction, just jump out of bounds and give the kicker a chance to win the game,” Buck shared.

Instead, Diggs took advantage of New Orleans Saints cornerback Marcus Williams’ missed tackle and sprinted down the sideline for a game-winning touchdown. Buck later said he felt his call of the play was his best.

Buck also mentioned the 2014 NFC Championship Game, one won by the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. Despite leading 19-7 with over five minutes left, the Green Bay Packers collapsed down the stretch and failed to secure an onside kick before the two-minute warning. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fired a game-winning touchdown to receiver Jermaine Kearse in the extra period.

“It was just a succession of things that happened during the course of the game that all of a sudden, ‘Hey, Seattle looks like they’ve got a chance … And then they win, and they go to the Super Bowl. That was shocking,” Buck said.

Don’t be surprised that Buck didn’t mention David Tyree’s infamous catch


Joe Buck Just Admitted His Final Days at Fox Sports Could Arrive Much Sooner than Fans Might Have Guessed: ‘I’ll Just Take a Breath and See What Works’

Of the three games he could have picked, Buck chose wisely. However, there is still one call that sticks with him for the wrong reasons.

Days before calling Brady’s comeback in Super Bowl 51, the legendary play-by-play announcer spoke with Graham Bensinger about another Big Game involving the then-Patriots quarterback. Late in the fourth quarter, Buck infamously provided a lackluster call when New York Giants receiver David Tyree used his helmet to secure a pass against the undefeated Patriots.

“[The game] was just awesome and exciting, which is funny because one of the criticisms you’ll get from a Giants fan if you go online is the Tyree catch that I didn’t scream and pull a groin about.”

Joe Buck

Buck explained he “could barely see” Eli Manning avoid being sacked and extend the play. He also admitted he “couldn’t see the catch all that well because of the twisted body.”

“That whole march down the field is something I’ll never forget,” Buck said.

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