What Caused Power Outage at Super Bowl Still Being Investigated

Monday, 04 Feb 2013 08:37 AM

By Megan Anderle

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There were a lot of electrifying moments around Super Bowl halftime, besides Beyoncé clad in sexy black leather and the Ravens' Jacoby Jones running the second-half opening kickoff back 108 yards for a touchdown and the longest play in Super Bowl history. Minutes later, an apparent power surge stopped play and left the Superdome in partial darkness for 34 minutes.

Some 73,000 fans were left in the dark, literally and figuratively, about what caused the outage minutes after Jones gave the Baltimore Ravens their 28-6 lead over the San Francisco 49ers with 13:22 left in the third quarter Sunday night.

Officials from Entergy, the utility company supplying power to the Superdome, said the outage occurred when sensing equipment detected an "abnormality" in the system, according to ESPN.

A statement from Entergy and the Superdome said that a piece of equipment monitoring electrical load sensed the abnormality and opened a breaker, partially cutting power. The statement said backup generators kicked in before full power could be restored.

"The power outage was an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the city of New Orleans,'" New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieau told ESPN. "In the coming days, I expect a full after-action report from all parties involved."

FBI special agent Michael Anderson said terrorism was not the cause of the power outage and dismissed reports of a fire as a cause. In addition, New Orleans Fire Department spokesman Michael Williams said no fire was reported before, during or after the power outage at the Superdome.

Officials are still investigating the incident.

On the CBS broadcast, play-by-play announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms went silent. CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker told viewers the issue was a "click of the lights." Later, the halftime crew anchored by host James Brown returned to fill the time with football analysis. Brown said a power surge caused the outage.

"We lost all power up here at the press box level," Nantz told The Associated Press. He and Simms were off the air for most of the outage.

One major holdup seemed to be the loss of electricity on the 49ers sideline. Play couldn't resume until the coaching staff had its high-tech communications capability restored.

When power was fully restored, the momentum that Jones' run gave the Ravens seemed to evaporate. The 49ers scored two consecutive touchdowns and nearly pulled off a game-winning drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Ravens kept them out of the end zone, bringing them to a nail-biting 34-31 victory.

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