Brent Musburger hardly being a beast with his comments about this beauty
By RICHARD ROEPER January 9, 2013 3:14PM
Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, watches the BCS title game on Monday. | USA Today
Updated: January 31, 2013 4:32PM
We’ve yet to hit the halfway point of the first month of 2013, and already we have a bona-fide candidate for Most Overblown Pop Culture Controversy of the Year.
I speak of Webb Cam.
In the time it took Brent Musburger to sound like a great-uncle at a wedding reception chortling about a pretty lass on the dance floor as the DJ spins a Black Eyed Peas mix, one Katherine Webb became an instant celebrity so fast, the Kardashians were burning with envy.
Oddly enough, this was not the first time an unknown beauty in the stands at a football game was fan-cammed into sudden fame. It wasn’t even the first time Mr. Musburger had been the catalyst for such a launch.
(Full disclosure: my agents are Todd and Brian Musburger, the brother and son, respectively, of Brent.)
In 1989, a beautiful, fresh-faced, 21-year-old fitness instructor and aspiring model wore a Labatt’s Beer T-shirt to a Canadian Football League game in Vancouver. When she appeared on the stadium’s big screen, the crowd erupted in cheers. Her photographer boyfriend created a poster from the moment — and within months, the young woman was on the cover of Playboy.
Nearly a quarter-century and many implants later, Pamela Anderson is still a B-list mainstay, most recently appearing on “Dancing on Ice,” a British show on which there’s, um, dancing.
From the stands
to having fans
In 2005, during ABC’s telecast of the Florida State-Miami game, the camera zoomed in on a group of scantily clad, attention-seeking heat missiles calling themselves “The FSU Cowgirls,” including one Jenn Sterger.
“I think 1,500 red-blooded American men just decided to go to FSU next semester,” said the announcer — Brent Musburger.
Sterger parlayed this flash of fame into a modeling/sportscasting career, appearing in Playboy and Maxim, writing an online column for Sports Illustrated and working as the “Gameday Host” for the New York Jets. She continues to work in broadcasting, although she’s probably best known for being the recipient of unwanted advances, including voicemails and (allegedly) photos, from Brett Favre.
Fast forward to the BCS Championship game last Monday night. Early in the game, with Alabama already pounding Notre Dame 14-0, ESPN cut to a shot of Katherine Webb, an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama USA and the girlfriend (of about six weeks) of ‘Bama QB AJ McCarron.
As you’ve probably heard a dozen times by now, Musburger marveled at Webb’s beauty, noting quarterbacks “get all the good-looking women” and advising the youngsters out there to get out there and start chucking the football around with pop.
Boom! Instant Social Media Flurry. Somebody created an @CreepyMusburger Twitter handle, and there was all kinds of blogosphere blathering about Musburger’s comments — and Webb’s looks. (Beautiful girl — kinda looks like the lead sorority girl in every 1980s campus comedy.) Webb’s Twitter following grew from a couple of thousand to 224,000 and counting — nearly 100,000 more than her boyfriend, who threw four touchdowns in leading his team to the national championship.
Never missing a chance to latch onto a publicity rocket ride, Donald Trump announced he was going to ask Webb to be a judge at the Miss USA Pageant. The Arizona Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett inadvertently shared his cell number with the Twitterverse as he hit on Webb and asked her to get some hot wings and go to a strip club with him. (So that’s his move.)
ESPN issued a statement saying Musburger’s commentary “went too far.” If only they’d issued a statement saying they’re going to advise all of their directors to cut back on the endless shots of “stories in the stands,” whether it’s the Hot Girlfriend or the Mom Who Sacrificed Everything for Her Son or the Twin Brother Who Overcame a Potentially Fatal Disease or the Couple in Opposing Jerseys.
Demonstrating class and grace, Webb and her parents have publicly stated they weren’t offended by Musburger’s comments and the breathless media should give him a break.
Webb says she’s not looking to capitalize on her moment in the sun. Of course, she said that in one of many interviews she’s granted since Monday night.
Not that I blame her. The Miss Alabama USAs of the world usually fade pretty quickly from the soft spotlight focused on them during their competitions. If Webb has any type of on-camera ambitions, now would be the time to seize the opportunities coming her way.
Everyone else should relax.