SAN JOSE, Calif. – If you don’t like Joe Webb, you’re the problem.
Perhaps the happiest player in the league — Sorry, Cam — showed up a few minutes early for Carolina’s Super Bowl media access period on Wednesday. Yes, he was smiling.
“This feels great,” the former Viking said. “I’ve waited a long time for this.”
Now in his sixth season, Webb will play in his first Super Bowl when the Panthers face the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.
Even on a team that has presumed NFL MVP and do-everything quarterback Cam Newton, some teammates say Webb might be the best athlete. He’s the third-string QB, the emergency running back, the fifth receiver and a member of every special teams unit.
“It’s better than holding a clipboard on the sideline,” Webb said. “Any time I can get on the field, I’m all for it.”
Webb is so nice that he still doesn’t criticize former Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave for not utilizing his athleticism when the Vikings were forced to start Webb for the injured Christian Ponder in the NFC wild-card game at Green Bay three years ago.
Musgrave opened with eight consecutive runs, including Webb’s two carries for 22 yards. A wise move considering Webb hadn’t taken a snap at quarterback during the regular season.
“We took it down and kicked a field goal to sort of set the tempo,” Webb said. “After that, it’s a game I put in the past.”
Webb ran only five more times but gained 46 more yards. A week later, after beating the Vikings 24-10, the Packers lost to San Francisco 45-31 as quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for a record 181 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
“As a coach, it’s all about having to get the feel for your player,” Webb said. “I wasn’t playing the whole year, so it wasn’t like Coach Musgrave was familiar with my playing style. It just didn’t go our way.”
When Webb became a free agent in 2014, he knew immediately that Carolina was the right fit.
“I loved Minnesota,” he said. “But I felt like the Panthers gave me the best opportunity to be successful. And here I am, in the Super Bowl.”