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Video: NFL announcers Aikman, Buck caught criticizing military flyover on hot mic

Soldiers of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fly over Nissan Stadium during the Tennessee Titans' Salute to Service Military Appreciation Game Nov. 10, Nashville, Tn. (US Army photo by Spc. Jeremy Lewis 40th Public Affairs Detachment)
October 20, 2020

NFL announcers Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were caught on a hot mic criticizing a military flyover before a Sunday game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers.

In a video clip first published by Defector, Buck is overheard introducing the broadcast before a short period of silence, then a brief exchange with Aikman about the flyover.

“That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover,” Aikman said.

“That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work!” Buck said.

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“That stuff ain’t happening with Kamala-Biden ticket. I’ll tell you that right now, partner,” Aikman added.

Military flyovers have been synonymous with NFL games and other popular sporting events. More than 1,000 requests are made for military flyovers each year.

Among the first military flyovers was when Army biplanes flew over the first World Series game between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs at Chicago’s Comiskey Park on Sept. 5, 1918.

The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, also known as “Blue Angels,” was the first military flyover team to be formed in 1946. The Air Force Air Demonstration Squadrons, or “the Thunderbirds,” formed in 1953, followed by the Army Golden Knights Army Parachute Team in 1959.

In 2015, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said the flyovers are “not an exorbitant cost” and actually benefit the U.S. military.

“There’s an exposure benefit from having the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over, a well-known, famous team, and that certainly helps us in terms of keeping our exposure out there for the American people,” Kirby said at the time. “And I think they’re very popular, these flyovers. Obviously people — people like that, too.”

The Department of Defense conducted its popular military flyovers earlier this year for healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The flyovers were criticized for their cost, but the department said no extra cost was incurred.

“Pilots must execute a minimum number of flight hours to maintain proficiency. These flyovers will incur no additional cost to taxpayers,” the statement said.

Some cost, however, is incurred for military exposure at sporting events.

According to data compiled by NJ.com, the department paid more than $6 million to NFL teams alone from 2011 to 2014 for military salutes and advertising. The money pays for military service members to attend games and ceremonies, among other means of exposure.