Super Bowl Blackout: Superdome to Blame for Power Outage, Not Electric Company

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  David Akers #2 of the San Francisco 49ers waits during a power outage that occurred in the third quarter that caused a 34-minute delay during Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One of the strangest moments in sports (and television) history ensued last night, when power outages caused a 34-minute delay in Super Bowl XLVII. And the story is only just getting started.

Because what comes next is the fun part: Finding out who to blame.

Theories, both legitimate and playful, are not in scant quota after the Super Bowl blackouts. Twitter seems convinced that Beyonce was responsible, while others, like TV Line's Michael Ausiello, have explored lists of even-wilder postulation.

But according to, the real culprit is neither a booty-shaking pop-singer, nor some sort of money-hungry advertising exec. It was the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

Despite a power outage that delayed the game for 34 minutes, electricity to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was never interrupted, meaning the cause of the blackout that affected 2013 Super Bowl was on the facility's end, utility officials said Sunday.

The Entergy Storm Center website, which provides updates on power outages in New Orleans and across the region, showed no power interruptions near the Superdome during the blackout, seeming to indicate it was an isolated incident.

Why is this important? Because we need to hold the proper parties responsible, that's why. I'm from Long Island, so I'm naturally inclined to always blame the power company. But if they aren't actually at fault (for once), everybody should know that. 

What transpired Sunday evening was unacceptable on so many levels. And for a while, it seriously looked like it might cost the Baltimore Ravens a Super Bowl championship. Their eventual victory sugar-coats the gaffe a little bit, but it shouldn't absolve culpability.

Almost all of the past week (at least the parts not spent rambling about Jack Harbaugh or Ray Lewis) was spent worshipping New Orleans as a host city. The personality of NOLA took on a life of its own, and actually became part of the Super Bowl narrative.

However, what we saw Sunday permanently blemishes that reputation, and in the future, it could (and probably should) dissuade the league from bringing Super Bowls back to Bourbon Street. For a city that's hosted the big game seven times—more than any other city in America—that's a wild and drastic shift.

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu will be tasked with restoring his city's image, but even he acknowledged the breadth of its screwup (via, saying, "The power outage was an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the City of New Orleans."

Whether it gets another chance to redeem itself remains to be seen. But for now, inexplicably, misusing Kate Upton was only the second-worst thing Mercedes-Benz did on Sunday night.