ESPN’s 73-year-old announcer, Brent Musburger, made headlines thanks to colorful commentary during college football’s Bowl Championship Series national championship game, spurring overly sensitive criticism that included the word “creepy” and sent Twitter abuzz.
Katherine Webb, also known as Miss Alabama and girlfriend of University of Alabama’s quarterback, A.J. McCarron, cheered on the Crimson Tide, unaware of the media frenzy Musburger’s comments on her physical appearance were causing.
“Wow, I’m telling you quarterbacks: You get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said during the 42-14 Alabama win over Notre Dame.
While “creepy” may usually describe a lingering camera and comments from an older man on a young woman’s physical appearance, it is not a fitting description of the comments made about the pageant-winning Webb’s beauty on ESPN.
For fans of the rival universities, an Auburn University alum dating an Alabama football player is simply too tantalizing of a story to pass commenting on. Throw in the fact that half of this rivalry-dating-duo is the state’s reigning pageant princess, and any commentator would share the story.
Commenting on Webb’s beauty deserves a response more along the lines of “way to go, Captian Obvious.” She is Miss Alabama. Of course, she is gorgeous.
The fans who decided Musburger had taken what is known in sports announcing as “extending the play” too far into the creep zone took it too personally.
Musburger did take the story and the comments on Webb too far. As in, too far on the clock. Any one of his comments could have stood alone and sufficed.
As any sports fan knows, commentators chat about more than just plays during games. Celebrities in the stands, funny fans, scandals with the players and more are brought up when lulls in excitement would ordinarilly cause home viewers to flip channels.
This is not the first time a commentator has tried to elaborate on something just to fill airtime, nor will it be the last. Webb is not the first woman to be given special attention because of her beauty, nor will she be the last.
Webb was not offended by the commentator’s compliments, and neither was McCarron or their families.
Musburger may not have made an official public comment on the uproar his attention to Webb caused, but he did make headlines just days later following a basketball game between Kansas State University and Baylor University.
After the game, he said: “Coming up next, ‘Sports Center.’ For Fran Franshilla and Holly Rowe, who was really smokin’ tonight, I want to say ‘so long from Lawrence.”
ESPN says that Musburger was not referring to Rowe as “smokin’,” but had actually said “it” making reference to the game.
If Musburger truly did say “who,” it seems like a fairly suitable nod to the unnecessary fandom frenzy and media mayhem caused by his commentary on Webb.
Relax football fans, the only problem here is a long-winded commentator. Then again, aren’t they all?