Fox's Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were on the ball...

Fox's Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were on the ball during yet another interesting Super Bowl, writes Neil Best. Credit: FOX

The Steelers had just made a game of it, scoring early in the second half of Super Bowl XLV Sunday night to draw within four points, and the Packers were lining up for their next possession.

In the background, there was an unusual buzzing. It sounded like crowd noise, an uncommon feature from a mixed Super Bowl audience.

Then Fox's Joe Buck piped up. "This has turned into a road game for Aaron Rodgers," he said, noting the Steelers fans had become so loud that the Packers might have trouble hearing.

Analyst Troy Aikman followed with a personal recollection from Super Bowl XXX in Tempe, Ariz.: As the Cowboys' quarterback, he had trouble with the ruckus generated by Steelers fans.

That's the way it's supposed to work - a play-by-play man who can keep an eye on the larger story-telling thread and an analyst who can offer an insider's insight. It is more difficult than it sounds.

Buck's touch was particularly important in a game of drastic shifts in momentum. And it made for a solid, blessedly no-frills account of yet another interesting Super Bowl, a welcome change of tone after the inanity of the pregame show marathon.

Buck's refusal to scream bothers some viewers, but as he did in his last Super Bowl, when the Giants won three years ago, he conveyed the bigness of big plays without overselling them.

The loudest he got was when Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace for a touchdown to get the Steelers within three points midway through the fourth quarter.

On the game-clinching fourth-down stop, Buck and Aikman initially thought the Packers' Tramon Williams had interfered with Wallace, but after watching a replay, they agreed it was a good no-call. Soon, Buck was announcing that the Lombardi Trophy was "coming home."

The game telecast got off to a comical start, one that reminded New York-area baseball fans that pitchers and catchers soon will report to spring training.

After a shot of John Madden apparently sending a text message while sitting next to former President George W. Bush, Fox's cameras caught Alex Rodriguez being fed popcorn by his girlfriend, Cameron Diaz.

"I'm sure Alex is thrilled we put the camera on him at that moment,'' Buck deadpanned.

Within the hour, Ms. Diaz was a trending Twitter topic in both New York and Boston.

Fox's announcers and cameras also did a good job chronicling game developments such as the Packers' Clay Matthews shadowing Roethlisberger and the growing number of injured players. "Are they holding a team meeting of the defense in that locker room?" Buck said as another Packer hobbled off late in the first half.

One thing Fox did not mention during the game was the snafu that left hundreds of fans with tickets without seats - even after Buck referred to organizers hoping to set an attendance record.

The NFL should have asked A-Rod and Diaz if they had any extra seats in their suite.

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