Musberger comments boost beauty to social media stardom
With a 42-14 rout of Notre Dame on Monday Alabama won its 15th college football national championship and its third in four years under coach Nick Saban. But Katherine Webb could be the night’s biggest winner, thanks to a random – and rambling – remark by veteran broadcaster Brent Musberger.
Alabama scored on its first two drives and it was apparent the Crimson Tide would have its way with the Irish. So, when a cameraman settled his lens on Webb in the stands, Musberger, 73, began gushing:
“Now when you are a quarterback at Alabama – you see that lovely lady there, she does go to Auburn, I want to admit that, but she's also Miss Alabama and that's (Alabama quarterback) AJ McCarron's girlfriend, okay,” Musberger said to his ESPN broadcast partner Kirk Herbstreit. “Wow, I'm telling you, quarterbacks – you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow!"
Musberger and Herbstreit also commented on the looks of Dee Dee Bonner, McCarron’s mother, who was sitting next to Webb in the stands. The camera repeatedly returned to show the women cheering on the Tide, their beauty evidently more interesting than the championship blowout on the field.
And the crowd at home went wild. Webb, who had just 526 Twitter followers in December (before it became news of her relationship with McCarron became public knowledge), had more than 140,000 by Tuesday morning (McCarron has about 100,000 followers). Her name was the second most popular search on Google, behind only her boyfriend himself. She received so many texts and Twitter follows after Musberger’s praise that her phone battery died.
Webb didn’t know about Musberger’s uncomfortably candid comments until after the game, but social media was, well, atwitter with reactions to the announcer’s slightly creepy offering.
One of McCarron's teammates, center Barrett Jones, joked Tuesday in an appearance on CNN's "Starting Point" that he was jealous of Webb's sudden fame.
"Where's the love for the actual players?" he joked. "She is certainly very pretty. But I just think Brent needs to share the love a little bit, that's all I'm saying."
Webb, 22, is a beautiful woman (as is Bonner) and a model who earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and administration from Auburn. She almost certainly was destined for success before meeting McCarron, but Musberger’s 30-second ogling and the power of social media has energized her rise to the “15 minutes of fame” artist Andy Warhol predicted for all of us in the media age.
Monday’s display of social media’s power makes me believe Warhol might just be right.