ESPN’s Joe Buck and Scott Van Pelt Face Off in Uncomfortably Testy Exchange
ESPN’s Joe Buck appeared to grow increasingly irritated with his colleague Scott Van Pelt during an on-air exchange Monday night, prompting Van Pelt to acknowledge the “awkward” conversation after Buck complained about his lack of air time.
Buck, who is the network’s Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer, joined his longtime broadcast partner Troy Aikman on Van Pelt’s program shortly after the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts 20-3.
After asking Buck the first question of the segment about the Chargers’ postseason hopes, Van Pelt then turned to Aikman and pressed the Hall of Fame quarterback for several minutes about Los Angeles’ offense and how it matches up with other teams. All the while, Buck stood by silently as the two ESPN personalities chatted.
Finally, as Van Pelt began to wrap up the interview, a clearly annoyed Buck chimed in and expressed his displeasure that he had been sidelined for much of the conversation.
“That’s it? I get one question? That’s all?” Buck wondered aloud.
“Yeah, I decided tonight, Joe, that I wanted to talk to Troy more,” Van Pelt shot back in his trademark deadpan manner.
“Yeah, I know, but I have to awkwardly stand here while he answers questions,” Buck retorted.
In an obvious attempt to defuse the growing tension, Aikman attempted to inject some comedic relief: jokingly pushing Buck aside while trying to take up the entire screen. Van Pelt, meanwhile, decided to appease Buck by asking him generalized questions about the weather in Indianapolis and whether he enjoyed Christmas.
At one point, Buck—who signed a lucrative long-term deal this past spring that saw him jump to ESPN from Fox Sports—quipped that he was glad to be on the road because his sons had received musical instruments as gifts. Van Pelt took that opportunity to tweak Buck about his huge multimillion-dollar contract.
“You got that private jet money, buddy; you’ll be home by eleven local,” the Sportscenter anchor cracked.
“Yeah, but don’t tell Michelle that. I’m gonna milk this,” Buck replied, referencing his wife Michelle Beisner-Buck, who is also an ESPN on-air personality.
“This is really getting awkward and I’m gonna segue out of it,” Van Pelt eventually said. “Boys, Happy New Year!”
Just before the camera feed cut out, Buck made sure to get one last swipe at Van Pelt.
“It’s your show. I thought you wanted ratings,” he huffed.
“That’s why I to talk to Troy,” Van Pelt fired back as Buck faded out, mercifully ending the weird exchange.
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