NEW ORLEANS -- The electric Baltimore Ravens were apparently too high-powered for the Superdome. With Baltimore leading Super Bowl XLVII 28-6 early in the third quarter, the power kicked off inside the stadium, sending the game into a delay that lasted about 34 minutes.
It was a surreal sight for those inside the Superdome and those watching on TV. Slightly more than a minute after Jacoby Jones ran back an incredible 108-yard kickoff return to open the second half, with the 49ers facing 3rd-and-13 after an Arthur Jones sack of Colin Kaepernick, most of the lights in the stadium went out. Everything on the 49ers' side of the field -- including the press box -- went dark, as did all of the stadium's scoreboards.
Check out the video of [si_launchNFLPopup video='3f1be0a3fdb64911aba318df50f2e2c9']the power going out[/si_launchNFLPopup]. A GIF of it, via Deadspin:
Phil Simms, in mid-sentence on the CBS broadcast at the time, had his mic cut out, and for a long time during the delay the network had to use Steve Tasker and Jim Brown -- who somehow had power on the field -- to relay information to viewers. According to various reports, the flashy halftime show, performed by Beyonce, had an impact in the outage.
The NFL issued a statement saying, "Stadium authorities are investigating the cause of the power outage. We will have more information as it becomes available." But Entergy, which supplies power to the Superdome, tweeted to say, "Power issue at the Super Dome appears to be in the customer's side. Entergy is providing power to the Dome. At all times, our distribution & transmission feeders were serving Superdome. We continue working w/ Superdome to address any issues."
Long after the game had ended, Entergy and SMG (the Superdome's management company) issued a joint statement explaining that "a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.
"Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed. Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start-up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome."
New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu calledit "an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the city of New Orleans. In the coming days, I expect a full-action report from all parties involved.
To the sellout crowd's credit, the atmosphere remained subdued despite the somewhat unsettling situation. The two fanbases traded "Let's Go Ravens" and "Let's Go Niners" cheers, with a wave mixed in as well.
An announcement was made over the stadium's public address system after several minutes, but the lack of power on the 49ers' side of the field also knocked out the speakers pointing that direction, meaning that a large chunk of the crowd was not privy to the message relayed.
The crowd began cheering wildly as the lights and scoreboards finally came back to life, coupled with multiple announcements that the game would resume shortly.
Twitter, naturally, had a field day with the fiasco, with a slew of jokes being hurled around during the delay. Below is a sampling of the best ones.
don't act like you've never blacked out in New Orleans.
— Abby (@abbytrott) February 4, 2013
Sean Payton is somehow going to get suspended again for this.
— Tom Mantzouranis (@themantz) February 4, 2013
Guaranteed that the NFL will give Ray Lewis a tackle credit for knocking the lights out.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 4, 2013
Oh, NOW someone gives a damn about the people without power in the Superdome!
— Michael Chaney (@mjchaney) February 4, 2013
This has been the worst second halftime in Super Bowl history.
— Rob Peterson (@ShotDrJr) February 4, 2013
IF YOU LIKED IT YOU SHOULD'VE PUT A BACKUP GENERATOR ON IT
— Joe Schmidt (@joeschmidt) February 4, 2013
WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW RAY LEWIS??? — Ashley Burns (@MayorBurnsy) February 4, 2013