Super Bowl XLVII Blackout: Power Outage Leaves Superdome Dark

Tim KeeneyContributor IFebruary 3, 2013

The Baltimore Ravens defeated San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII, but it was the power outage early in the third quarter in the Mercedez-Benz Superdome that has been driving the most buzz.


UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7:51 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

It is now being reported on that officials were worried about a potential power outage in the Superdome prior to Super Bowl XLVII.

An Oct. 15 memo released by the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, which oversees the Superdome, says tests on the dome's electrical feeders showed they had "some decay and a chance of failure."

Entergy New Orleans, the company that supplies the stadium with power, and the structure's engineering staff "had concerns regarding the reliability of the Dome service from Entergy's connection point to the Dome," the memo says. Those concerns were due in part to "circumstances that have previously occurred with the electrical service regarding transient spikes and loads"...

..."As discussed in previous board meetings, this enhancement is necessary to maintain both the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena as top tier facilities, and to ensure that we do not experience any electrical issues during the Super Bowl," says a LSED document dated Dec. 19.

---End of update---

UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 4, at 12:51 a.m. EST by Tim Keeney

After hours of wondering how it happened, Rachel Nichols finally gave us the official reason for the blackout:

Superdome statement on why the lights went out: "Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl, 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."

---End of update---


Here is the moment it happened, courtesy of Bleacher Report:

Gregg Rosenthal of gave us an idea of what was happening:

Sports radio host Darren McKee, meanwhile, showed us a picture of the bizarre scene:

Entergy New Orleans made sure to share this information, via Twitter:

Shortly after the incident, the NFL released a statement saying that the cause of the outage was still unknown (via Jacques Doucet of WAFB):

Just when you thought this whole ordeal was crazy enough, it now appears there is a Twitter account for "Superbowl Lights."

Oddly enough, this is the second time in as many seasons that the 49ers have found themselves in this position. 

In late 2011, during a Monday Night Football matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Candlestick Park lost power twice, delaying the game both times.

Of course, that time around went a little better for San Francisco, as the team rolled to an impressive 20-3 win. 

This time, the Ravens were the team to take control. 

To start the second half, Jacoby Jones took the opening kickoff 109 yards for his second touchdown of the game to put the Ravens up by three scores.

It appeared as though John Harbaugh's team was going to roll to an easy Super Bowl victory, but the blackout gave the 49ers new hope. 


Moments after the 30-minute delay finally came to an end, Colin Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for a 31-yard touchdown.

The Ravens responded with a three-and-out, and after a big Ted Ginn Jr. punt return, Frank Gore punched in a short touchdown to cut Baltimore's massive lead down to 28-20. 

San Francisco continued to threaten, and eventually cut the lead to 31-29, but Baltimore got a key goal-line stop and held on for the 34-31 win to be crowned champs of the NFL. 

The Superdome blackout couldn't quite secure the game's MVP award (that went to Joe Flacco), but it will still go down as one of the most memorable moments of this year's big game.