Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Media Views: After 47 Years, Another Buck Back for "Ice Bowl'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Media Views: After 47 Years, Another Buck Back for "Ice Bowl'

Article excerpt

It was nearly half a century ago when Jack Buck got a jolting phone call.

It was New Year's Eve morning and he was in Green Bay, Wis., where the day before the temperature had been in the not-too-bad 20s. He was set to broadcast the 1967 NFL championship game, between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys the legendary "Ice Bowl" as it became known.

"The hotel operator woke me with the startling news that it was 17 degrees below zero," Buck, who died in 2002, wrote in his 1997 autobiography, "That's a Winner!," with Rob Rains and Bob Broeg.

"I was staying at the Northlands Hotel, and some of the Packer players were there as well. I went down to breakfast and sat next to Willie Davis, the Green Bay defensive end. 'I'll leave if you leave,' I told him, but he had no idea what I was talking about. 'Do you know how cold it is outside?' I asked Davis. 'How cold?' he said. '17 below,' I answered. 'Baloney (actually, it was a much more coarse word),' he said. He couldn't believe it. He hadn't been outside and he hadn't turned on the radio or television, he hadn't talked to anybody but me. I was going to have a hard enough time trying to broadcast the game (on CBS-TV), but he had to play."

The temperature at kickoff was minus-13, the wind chill minus- 43.

Buck was recognized nationally more for his football broadcasting than he was known in St. Louis for his masterful baseball work, and was a Cowboys broadcaster at the time of the "Ice Bowl." He called the second half after Packers announcer Ray Scott handled the first half.

They worked with analyst Frank Gifford and as the telecast opened, Buck hit hard with his trademark dry humor. Scott asked Buck for "his thoughts here as we're moments away from kickoff."

Buck wryly said, "I think it's very cold, Ray."

Buck wrote that he borrowed a stocking cap from one of the players "and had it pulled down over my ears. Gifford stood there without a hat with his hair combed perfectly and I said, 'Frank, aren't you going to put something on your head?' He said he didn't have anything to wear. I told him I could get a cap for him, but he said he didn't want one. I said to myself, 'You're a better man than I am.'"

It was an interesting day, as one would imagine.

"I stood there shivering and a Packer fan walked by about 15 yards away wearing only a T-shirt," Buck wrote. "He was a Green Bay native, wearing formal attire. He yelled, 'Hey Buck you stink.' I started to cry, but my tears froze.

"We had an open broadcast booth and I was trying to stay warm drinking coffee laced with VO, but even that mixture froze like a popsicle. Gifford said, 'Give me a bite of your coffee.' That was the funniest thing he has ever said."

They got through the game, but the adventure was far from over.

Buck, Gifford and Tom Brookshire who did the pregame and postgame shows had a twin-engine plane awaiting to take them to Chicago, where they could make their connections. …

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