“That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover,” Aikman, the Hall of Fame quarterback, mused. Buck replied, “That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work.” “That stuff ain’t happenin’ with [a] Kamala-Biden ticket,” Aikman responded, “I’ll tell you that right now, partner.”
The moment was widely described, including in an earlier version of this story, as the pair getting unknowingly speaking into a broadcast microphone that was turned on, or “hot.” That wasn’t the case, Buck explained Wednesday on a podcast he co-hosts. Buck said it was a leaked clip made before the broadcast and that he and Aikman were neither caught unaware nor disparaging flyovers.
“Here’s what people don’t get: They say that this was an open mic or a hot mic. It wasn’t,” Buck told actor Oliver Hudson on their “Daddy Issues” podcast. “This was before our rehearsal. So this wasn’t like ‘Oops, we’re on! Hey, I can’t believe we just said that. Oh my God, we’re on!’ That’s not what happened. But that doesn’t matter in the reporting of it 'cause the reporting of it is from websites that pick up a piece of audio that was clipped by somebody along the chain. It leaked. It was clipped by somebody along the chain.”
Buck said the pre-broadcast banter is a way of loosening up, “to let the pressure out” because it’s “abnormal” to stand in front of a green screen and talk. Buck, he said, once sang “Ring of Fire” to members of the crew, who are listening in just before going live.
In Sunday’s case, Buck continued, the duo and their crew members had been out to dinner the night before, where they typically exchange opinions that range across the political spectrum. Although Buck said he is “in the center” politically, “we have people who are all over the map.”
As he spoke Sunday afternoon, Buck believed the shot of the flyover was on tape.
“Troy, in the microphone, is repeating something that he heard the night before from an unnamed person on our crew,” he said. “This person happens to be very far-left, said, ‘Oh — well, under Biden-Harris, you know, that’s not gonna happen!’ And Troy was repeating that while watching the flyover. So they clipped that as if he’s saying that and as if he’s, like a Harris-Biden fan and he’s repeating something he heard the night before, which is unbelievable. If you know Troy at all, he was being 100 percent sarcastic, repeating it for the person in the truck.”
Buck, who noted that his father and grandfather were war veterans, said a clip like that “stirs people up” and “words get weaponized.” Fox, he added, is looking into who leaked the clip.
“That person will get found out,” he said, “because that specific shot of that flyover, which I personally thought was old and a tape and they were running out of our truck as furthering our conversation that we were having internally, that was actually live. That was not a Fox shot. They know whose shot that was and therefore they know where our audio was going at that moment. It wasn’t going on TV. It was well before the game.”
On Tuesday, Aikman also sought to place his comments in context.
“I love a flyover but It was odd to see one over a mostly empty stadium,” he tweeted, “but I am an unwavering patriot that loves this country, has always respected our flag, supported the men and women in the armed forces as well as those in uniform who serve & protect and for anyone to suggest otherwise doesn’t know me, my beliefs or what I have stood for my entire life.”
Flyovers are often part of training exercises and, although it is not clear what Sunday’s flyover cost, The Washington Post reported in April that flying a squadron of fighter jets in such a matter costs at least $60,000 per hour. The practice came under criticism in the spring when the Pentagon conducted several flyovers by the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, the demonstration squadrons for the Navy and Air Force, “to thank first responders, essential personnel and military service members as we collectively battle the spread of covid-19.”
Those flyovers came as medical personnel dealt with a shortage of personal protective equipment as they treated patients. A senior military official told The Post that the cost of those flights came from money already allocated in the Pentagon budget.