New Orleans suffered an embarrassing 34-minute delay during Super Bowl XLVII when a power outage occurred early in the third quarter, engulfing half the stadium in darkness.
At the time, the Baltimore Ravens had a 28-6 lead over the San Francisco 49ers, and all signs pointed to a blowout. But the blackout stymied all of Baltimore's momentum, allowing the reeling 49ers a chance to compose themselves and get back into the game once the power came back on.
Considering this incident occurred just minutes after Beyonce's elaborate halftime show, it would seem like a logical conclusion that the two events were related. But, according to Superdome manager Doug Thornton, that isn't the case (via USA Today's Lindsay H. Jones):
Doug Thornton, the Superdome's manager, said Beyonce's show was run strictly on "generated power" and the stadium's main power was "metered down" during the show because the house lights were turned off.
Entergy, the company that supplies power to the Superdome, and Superdome operator SMG issued a joint statement following the game (via the Associated Press):
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.
So, in essence, this boils down to one piece of equipment failing at the worst possible time, on one of sports' grandest stages.
This is hardly an indictment against the city of New Orleans, nor is it an indictment against a 38-year-old Superdome, which has recently been renovated to the tune of $336 million since Hurricane Katrina ripped its roof to shreds in 2005.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media following the game (via Jones' report):
I don't think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered as one of the greatest Super Bowl weeks, and we thank New Orleans for that. I hope we will be back here. We want to be back here.
NFL Network's Albert Breer summed up his thoughts on the matter:
Here's hoping that the blackout doesn't prevent future Super Bowls from coming here. Stadium's not great. But city's perfect for this week.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 4, 2013
That doesn't mean the blackout didn't almost change the outcome of the game, though, which would have been tragic. ESPN's Skip Bayless isn't someone I usually agree with, but he made a good point:
Refs' awful noncall at end saved NFL from historical embarrassment because blackout would've been credited w/ turning momentum for SF.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) February 4, 2013
After the 49ers had begun to mount their furious comeback bid, New York's Dayna Tris wrote:
How many blackouts does each team get per game? Baltimore better use one soon... #superbowl47— DaynaTrisNYC (@DaynaTrisNYC) February 4, 2013
New Orleans' Hailee Justine offered a hilarious take:
whatever. who HASN'T blacked out in New Orleans?— hailee justine (@haileejustine) February 4, 2013
By all accounts, Super Bowl week in New Orleans went off without a hitch—minus the blackout, of course.
The city was well prepared for the massive influx of media, and being that it's already known as one of America's top tourist destinations, it's no surprise that fans were treated to a phenomenal experience in the week leading up to the big game.
New Orleans is a perfect city for big events like the Super Bowl. A city of culture, it is full of amazing restaurants, is a hub for some of the world's best music and, of course, features Bourbon Street—one of the world's top party destinations.
The Superdome isn't a shiny, new stadium like MetLife Stadium in New Jersey or the one the 49ers are in process of building in Santa Clara. The bottom line is that the blackout had nothing to do with the stadium.
Anyone suggesting that New Orleans doesn't deserve to host another Super Bowl until a new stadium is built needs to sit back, take a few deep breaths and come to his or her senses.
While the blackout was certainly a huge embarrassment, it didn't ultimately decide the game and didn't detract from the performances from both teams.
New Orleans won't be cut out of the NFL's rotation to host the Super Bowl. And that's a good thing.
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