Outage suspends game for half hour

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Half the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is in darkness because of a blackout during the second half of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday in New Orleans.
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Half the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is in darkness because of a blackout during the second half of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday in New Orleans.

Baltimore wins Super Bowl XLVII after outage

The Ravens were rolling, Beyonce had just put on a stunning half time show and then the unprecedented happened: the lights went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII.

Usually a beacon on the New Orleans skyline, the Superdome was bathed in darkness when the majority of lights flickered out at 7:36 p.m., shortly after Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of in the second half for a touchdown. There was 13:22 left in the quarter and the Baltimore Ravens led the San Francisco 49ers 28-6.

The power was off inside the stadium for 34 minutes. The lights started to come back on at 8:02 p.m. and play resumed at 8:10 p.m. The exterior lights flickered on at about 8:20 p.m. and the Superdome tooks bacl its place in the New Orleans skyline.

“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 Landrieu said in a statement issued Sunday night. ”In the coming days, I expect a full after action report from all parties involved. For us, the Super Bowl isn’t over until the last visitor leaves town, so we’re focused on continuing to show our visitors a good time.”

Emergency lights went on shortly after the first lights went out, but play was immediately halted. The teams remained on the field with players stretching and trying to stay warmed up, including the Ravens’ Joe Flacco and Ed Reed. Cheerleaders kept going through their routines and a public address announcement asked fans to stay in their seats.

Officials gathered on the field and appeared to be talking to stadium personnel, but when it became clear it would not be a brief outage, everyone left the field with some players staying on the sidelines.

The power was off inside the stadium for 34 minutes with lights beginning to come back on at 8:02 p.m. Play resumed at 8:10 p.m.

Officials with Entergy Corp., which provides power to the Superdome, said it was unlikely that anyone would know what caused the outage until late Sunday or early Monday.

“The only thing is that I definitely have confirmation that it was on the Superdome’s side,” Entergy regional Service Manager Sheila Pounders said as to where the electrical problem was located that caused the outage. “Our distribution and transmission service remained in service and has continued to remain in service the entire time.”

She said it was likely the investigation would start after the game.

She said Entergy workers were at the Superdome, working with Superdome staff to figure out what happened.

“We’re going to do everything we can to help the dome with it,” she said.

She said she heard CBS announcers say the issue was with the feed in the system. She said that meant there was a problem feeding electricity from outside the Superdome to the equipment inside.

Eric Eagen, a Superdome spokesman, sent out a statement shortly after power was restored.

“Power has been restored. We sincerely apologize for the incident,” he said.

New Orleans Police Department Spokeswoman Remi Braden said all she knew was that power had been restored and could not comment further.

Fans had mixed feelings about the power outage.

Jeff Devin, 53, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan from Tampa, Fla., said he was sitting in the upper level of the stadium when the lights went out.

“It was a surprise, however, I thought it was part of the show,” Devin said.

He said he did become concerned about what was happening outside the stadium when the Superdome went dark.

Devin said he felt the communication from Superdome and NFL officials was not enough to ease concerned fans such as himself.

“Nobody announced anything,” Devin said. “Announce. Give us a little clue. My greatest concern was that there was no communication channel.”

Darren Fruman, 39, and Danny Glazer, 38, Ravens fans from Baltimore, said they were sitting in section 302 when the lights went out.

Fruman and Glazer said they were not too concerned about safety and felt Super Bowl officials gave the public enough notice about what was happening.

“They could actually still play,” Glazer said.