Katherine Webb attends E! + ELLE + IMG Party in 2016 in New York City.
Photo: Brian Ach/Getty Images
Photo: Brian Ach/Getty Images

Brent Musburger still baffled by criticism over calling ‘a beauty queen beautiful’

Brent Musburger is remembered as one of college football’s greatest announcers. But to some, he’ll remain linked to Katherine Webb because of curious comments made from the booth during the 2013 BCS national championship game.

Webb was the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron at the time. (Webb and McCarron, a quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals, are now married.) As McCarron helped lead the Crimson Tide to a 42-14 rout of Notre Dame in Miami Gardens, Fla., Musburger called Webb “beautiful” and a “lovely lady” on the air after he spotted her in the stands. Soon after, Webb became a Twitter sensation.

Speaking to SEC Country on Thursday shortly after filming his show, “My Guys in the Desert” as part of the new Vegas Stats & Information Network, Musburger looked back on the incident in a positive light.

“I wish them the best,” Musburger said. “And A.J., I’m glad that they’re happily married. I hope they live happily ever after. … Katherine remains beautiful, in my opinion.”

Musburger said the national reaction to his comments about Webb, a former Miss Alabama, surprised him. Webb, now Katherine Webb-McCarron, wished Musburger well after the announcer’s retirement announcement in January.

“I called a beauty queen beautiful,” Musburger said. “Give me a break. I mean, come on. That was like, ‘What are you talking about? ’”

Some also criticized Musburger for telling broadcast partner Kirk Herbstreit during the telecast, “You quarterbacks get all the good-looking women.” But Musburger said that comment was meant as a compliment to Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback.

“I had just been out to dinner with Herbstreit and his wife the night before,” Musburger said. “So the rest of the comments were addressed to him. … I thought it was silly, to tell you the truth.”

Beyond the Webb incident, Musburger is optimistic about McCarron’s NFL potential. He said McCarron, who has 854 yards passing and 6 touchdowns in three seasons with Cincinnati, has been impressive when given opportunities to take the field.

“I hope that A.J. gets a chance to play,” Musburger said. “I thought he was very good when he filled in, when [Cincinnati quarterback Andy] Dalton was hurt in the [2015 NFL] playoffs, that run. Of all the guys that are out there – I know there’s a heavy media following for [New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy] Garoppolo, probably because ESPN is close to Boston. But I’ve got to tell you something, A.J. McCarron will be someone, if I needed a quarterback, that I’d take a long look at. He’s been around. He has handled himself really well. You hear no controversy, and he has stepped in. And if his middle linebacker hadn’t gone brain dead that day, they would have beaten Pittsburgh [in the playoffs]. [Vontaze] Burfict went nuts. A.J. would have beaten them. So I think he’s deserving of a chance.”

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