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Buck's favorite broadcast? Giants stun Pats

Giants wide receiver David Tyree makes one of

Giants wide receiver David Tyree makes one of the most memorable catches in Super Bowl history, outfighting Patriots safety Rodney Harrison and pinning the ball against his helmet during Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008. Credit: AP

It is a question you hear a lot when you have been at this as long as Joe Buck has: What is your favorite game of those you have called?

As of three years ago yesterday, the Fox play-by-play man has not had to think about his reply.

Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14.

"When people ask me at a Kiwanis Club or a banquet,'' he said, "after I've told them to wake up after my keynote address, that's always my answer.

"Without a doubt the biggest, most enjoyable, I felt, rewarding game I've ever been a part of.''

Added Buck's partner, Troy Aikman: "I thought we did the game justice. To have that broadcast on that stage was extremely meaningful.''

Why bring this up now? Because for the first time since that wild night in Glendale, Ariz., the Fox gang will return to the biggest show on television Sunday.

And it will be bigger than ever.

Most experts expect Super Bowl XLV to surpass the average of 106.5 million viewers for last year's game - a figure that broke a 27-year-old American TV record held by the "M*A*S*H'' finale.

Wait . . . 106.5 million? Isn't that a little intimidating when you are on live television?

Buck said there are times when he is on camera before the game that there is "a little voice in the back of your head saying, 'Don't screw it up, don't screw it up, don't screw it up.' ''

But there is no time or space for such voices in the heat of the moment.

"It was so good in the fourth quarter [of Super Bowl XLII],'' Buck said. "You get into the action. At no point does the size of the audience even filter in.''

Buck was criticized in some quarters for not sounding excited enough when Eli Manning found Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left.

But given the shocking events on screen, Buck's relatively laid-back, Summerall-ian approach worked well. It allowed room for a rise in emotions when the truly incredible occurred - see Tyree, David - and it prompted Buck wisely to let the pictures and sound tell the story after Burress' catch.

Now it is time to do it all over again. There always is the potential for TV disaster, but the fact is fans mostly are in good hands with the No. 1 teams of the three Super Bowl networks.

Sunday's telecast will have particular resonance for several Fox types.

Former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw might have the "really cool'' honor of presenting the Lombardi Trophy to his former team. His pregame colleague, Michael Strahan, will be back after starring in that Giants win three years ago.

And Aikman, who won three Super Bowls as a Cowboy and has lived in North Texas for more than 20 years, is vice chairman of the host committee.

"Short of playing in it, which is the first thing I would have liked to have done, getting an opportunity to broadcast this game is really special,'' he said. "It was by luck of the draw Fox had this game.''

Aikman said the cold weather all week has been "disturbing and disappointing,'' but he added jokingly, "It's [Roger] Staubach's fault. He's the one who has a direct pipeline to the man upstairs.''

Aikman said he has been proud of many telecasts, but the reason the Giants' victory over the Patriots stands out is the same reason his three Super Bowls as a player do.

"The ones people remember are the big games,'' he said.

Buck certainly does. "To get into that fourth quarter and be as wrapped up as we were in that back-and-forth between the Patriots and Giants,'' he said, "is something I'll never forget.

"I don't know if it will ever be topped.''

New York Sports