It was as if ESPN sports announcer Brent Musburger was possessed by the soul of Joe Biden at his most unfiltered while narrating the BCS Champion Game between the University of Alabama and Notre Dame on Monday night.
A star was born -- and the world cringed -- when Musburger singled out Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's girlfriend Katherine Webb in the stands. She's a former Miss Alabama with the aura of an '80s music-video dream girl, and her bombshell beauty proved to be a potent distraction for Musburger and co-commentator Kirk Herbstreit.
"Well, I tell you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women! What a beautiful woman!," marveled Musburger as ESPN's cameras panned toward Webb. Replied Herbstreit: "Wow, AJ's doing some things right ... ."
The 73-year-old Musburger continued, interjecting: "So if you're a youngster at Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pops."
The Webb objectification instantly drew complaints on Twitter, with a chorus of critics deriding Musburger (and ESPN, for that matter) as "creepy" and inappropriate. "BREAKING: AJ McCarron's girlfriend has filed a restraining order against Brent Musberger [sic]. That didn't take long," snarked the parody account NOT SportsCenter, prompting nearly 13,000 retweets.
At the same time, Webb, 23, gained some 110,000 Twitter followers, raising her tally to 124,384 as of Tuesday morning. She made the news roundup on the Today show as well as a slew of media headlines online.
Webb -- a graduate of Alabama football rival Auburn University -- confirmed her relationship with McCarron last month, telling the Ledger-Enquirer newspaper, "I'm not trying to sabotage Alabama."
“When you’re a representative of the whole state, you have to kind of bypass your own feelings and love everyone,” she insisted. (Webb and McCarron first hooked up at the 2012 Miss Alabama pageant in early December. She lives in Los Angeles; the two made it official over the holidays.)
In case you were paying attention (we're talking to you, Musburger), Alabama beat the Irish 42-14.