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Power outage stops Super Bowl for 34 minutes

By Paul Newberry

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Feb. 4 2013 12:32 a.m. MST

Just last season, the Niners endured two power outages during a Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Candlestick Park.

"I didn't know what was going on," San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson said. "I just tried to keep my legs warmed up."

The Ravens felt the delay turned what looked like a blowout into a close game.

"It really hurt us. We had lot of momentum," fullback Vonta Leach said. "We were rolling. That 35- or 40-minute wait, whatever it was, hurt our momentum as far as what we were trying to do. But we came out on top and that's all that matters."

Safety Ed Reed said some of his teammates were worried that the game would turn when the lights came back on.

"The bad part is we started talking about it," he said. "Some of the guys were saying, 'They're trying to kill our momentum.' I was like, 'There's two teams on the field.' But once we started talking about it, it happened. We talked it up."

The public address announcer said the Superdome was experiencing an interruption of electrical service and encouraged fans to stay in their seats. Players milled around on the sidelines, some took a seat on the bench, others on the field. A few of the Ravens threw footballs around.

Officials gathered on the field and appeared to be talking to stadium personnel. Finally, the lights came back on throughout the dome and the game resumed.

"Let's go!" referee Jerome Boger said to the teams.

The NFL said stadium officials were investigating the cause.

"We sincerely apologize for the incident," Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan said.

Once the game resumed, CBS said all commercial commitments for the broadcast were being honored. The network sold out its allotment of advertising at $3.8 million per 30-second spot.

"We lost numerous cameras and some audio powered by sources in the Superdome," said Jennifer Sabatelle, vice president of communications for CBS Sports. "We utilized CBS' backup power and at no time did we leave the air."

The outage provided a major glitch to what has largely been viewed as a smooth week for New Orleans, which was hosting its first Super Bowl since 2002 and was eager to show off how the city has rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina.

Monique Richard, who is from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, had tickets in the upper deck.

"My exact words on the way over here were, 'I hope this goes off without a hitch,' because the city just looked so good, they were doing so well, the weather so good everything was kind of falling into place," she said.

New Orleans was once a regular in the Super Bowl rotation and hopes to regain that status. Earlier in the week, the host committee announced it will bid on the 2018 Super Bowl, which would coincide with the 300th anniversary of the city's founding.

The 38-year-old Superdome has undergone $336 million in renovations since Katrina ripped its roof in 2005. Billions have been spent sprucing up downtown, the airport, French Quarter and other areas of the city in the past seven years.

"Everything shut down," said Carl Trinchero, a 49ers fan from Napa, Calif., who was in the Superdome. "No credit cards, vending machines shut down, everything shut down."

Trinchero said it may have affected the momentum of the game but, given that the Ravens survived the 49ers comeback, "it didn't affect the outcome."

Joked Doug Cook, a Ravens fan from New Orleans: "They didn't pay the light bill."

Still, he admitted to a fleeting fear when the lights went out.

"I started thinking it was a terrorist attack. I was a little nervous," he said.

In the French Quarter, fans didn't appear much concerned with the power outage or delay in play.

"If we can blame Beyonce for lip syncing, we can blame her for the power outage," said Gary Cimperman of Slidell, La., with a laugh as he watched the second half of the game from a bar. "Or maybe Sean Payton called in the outage, bountygate part two."

AP Sports Writer Brett Martel and Associated Press writer Brian Schwaner in New Orleans contributed to this story. Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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