Joe Buck praises John Schneider extension, Seahawks organization
Joe Buck knows that Seahawks fans feel he and his FOX Sports broadcast partner Troy Aikman are biased against the team on Sundays. But Buck had nothing but positive things to say about the organization and its decision to extend general manager John Schneider’s contract when he joined “Brock and Salk” on Monday. The praise included his belief that Seattle is arguably the best-run organizations in the NFL.
“I think from the top down, that’s as a good an organization – probably the best-run organization – in the NFL right now,” he said.
Seahawks fans started online petitions last year against Buck and Aikman, FOX Sports’ No. 1 broadcast team, asking for them to be banned from covering the team’s games in the future. That, of course, won’t happen, as Buck said he will be working Seattle’s Week 2 matchup against the Rams in Los Angeles.
Buck said Seattle sits with Green Bay – another team with a fanbase that has petitioned against he and Aikman – as the two top organizations because the decision-makers are treated well and provided complete control of their rosters.
“They’re not going to get sucked into dumb deals, emotional deals that are the end of organizations and it takes 10 years to get over the emotional contract that they signed when a guy is on the decline,” Buck said. “They’re just smarter than that.”
Much like how the MLB’s Royals focused on their bullpen and speed, he said Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are responsible for the evolving NFL defenses.
“I though John Schneider and Pete Carroll changed the way NFL rosters and defenses are constructed,” he said. “When you think about a defensive secondary that was that big and that physical, I don’t know that a lot of teams have the ability to match it.”
Buck said Schneider is deserving of his extension and raise, which 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton reports is expected to be in the neighborhood of $3.5 million per year.
“I think they’ve done a tremendous job and John Schneider is right at the top of it,” he said. “Let alone, he’s just a decent, good man, a good guy and a good front man for the organization. Yeah, that was what needed to happen. It’s just a well-run group.”
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Schneider comes from the Green Bay organization that was led by former general manager Ron Wolf, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. Buck said it’s no coincidence and that Wolf is in Canton, in part, because of the ability to surround himself with quality people. Specifically, the head coaches – a talent Schneider learned by hiring Carroll.
“I think the world of Pete and I think the world of (Packers head coach) Mike McCarthy,” Buck said. “I thought Pete out-coached him in that (2014 NFC Championship Game), but I think day-to-day – as far as guys who are on top of their roster and who work with rookie free agents, undrafted guys better than the rest of them – those are the two head coaches on that list, too.”
Buck said what separates a great coach from the pack – in any sport – is not always the in-game decisions, but the ability to get a group of multi-millionaires to want to play the game in the right way and for one another. And that, Buck said, is where Carroll thrives.
“I guess he’s the oldest head coach with (Tom) Coughlin out and he feels like the youngest sometimes,” Buck said. “He’s got pep and drive and guys want to play for him and he sets the right tone. And he’s different that way than McCarthy. But I look at the right coach and I think they have a lot more to do with it and, in some ways are underpaid, believe it or not, for the imprint and fingerprint, I guess, that they leave on a roster. I think Carroll is so undervalued even now with the success. I really believe that.”
Buck on Griffey
Buck, who started his broadcasting career working with his father in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth, said his favorite part of Ken Griffey’s Jr.’s Hall of Fame speech was his decision to turn his cap backward.
“It seemed like after he left Seattle, that smile was gone for a while. And as a baseball fan and as someone in St. Louis, it was crushing to me because I have not seen a more marketable guy,” Buck said. “All the other sports had their guys, but baseball had Ken Griffey Jr. And even beyond his prime, it was like, ‘What can we find to put Ken Griffey Jr.’s face on?’ Because he was it.
“…This is a game being played by adults and they need to remember that this is supposed to be fun, too,” he added. “So I think he came along at a perfect time and baseball misses that ability to really promote and market somebody like that.”
This led to Buck revealing an anecdote from his book “Lucky Bastard” – to be published in November – about a heated argument while Griffey played for the Reds around a batting cage in St. Louis. Buck said he’d made the “smile” comment on air and Griffey took offense. The two ultimately formed a friendship, but during the game that day, Buck said Griffey tried to make a point while leaving the on-deck circle.
“He looks up at the TV booth where I’m sitting and gives me the fakest, widest grin that I’ve ever seen in my life,” Buck said. “And then he goes in and digs into the batter’s box. I wish I could say that he hit a home run after that. I don’t even know what he did. But it was like wow, he was really bothered by that comment. It’s one of the few confrontations I’ve had with a player and it ended up great. He and I have been fine to this day.”