During the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII last night (Sun., Feb. 3, 2013) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, a massive power outage came from nowhere, knocking out half the stadium's lights and bringing the big game to a screeching halt.
The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers were forced to stop play for over 30 minutes at a crucial point in the game. Jacoby Jones had taken the second half kickoff back for a record 108-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 28-6, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
As for what caused the outage, the initial word given on the CBS broadcast of the game was that there was a power surge and it knocked off half the stadium. Later, statements were issued from a spokesman for both the Superdome and the NFL.
From Eric Eagan, Superdome spokesman:
"Power has been restored. We sincerely apologize for the incident."
And from the NFL:
"Stadium authorities are investigating the cause of the power outage. We will have more information as it becomes available."
NFL.com had more on the issue after the game:
About two hours after the game, won by the Ravens in a 34-31 thriller, officials revealed that an "abnormality" in the power system triggered an automatic shutdown, forcing backup systems to kick in. But they weren't sure what caused the initial problem.
A joint statement from Entergy New Orleans, which provides power to the stadium, and Superdome operator SMG shed some light on the chain of events, which apparently started at the spot where Entergy feeds power into the stadium's lines. The problem occurred shortly after Beyonce put on a halftime show that featured extravagant lighting and video effects.
"A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system," the statement said. "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. ... Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality."
The outage may not have been a big story -- okay, it probably would have anyway -- had it not been for the fact that it was such a major turning point in the game. Before the lights went out, the Ravens were rolling, up 28-6 and on their way to a blowout victory.
Once power was restored, however, the 49ers went on a tear and closed the gap to as little as two points. Ultimately, Baltimore held their ground for the 34-31 victory.
What a crazy night.
For our complete coverage of the game click here.