NEW ORLEANS - The 35-minute power outage that began less than two minutes into the second half Sunday has to be a Super Bowl first, and will be part of what makes this year’s big game a memorable one.
Well, the quality of the contest and the 49ers’ surge back into the game will help with that. But how often do you see a blackout at a carefully choreographed major sporting event?
Power company Entergy and SMG, the management company of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, issued a joint statement about the partial power loss after the game:
“Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 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.
“Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed. Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome.
“The fault-sensing equipment activated where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy’s feed into the facility. There were no additional issues detected. Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”
At the time of the outage, the Ravens held a 28-6 lead. A little more than six minutes after the game resumed, the 49ers began a run of 17 straight points over just 4 minutes, 10 seconds to narrow the margin to 28-23.
The Ravens pushed their lead to 31-23 on a Justin Tucker field goal. San Francisco then nearly tied the contest when Colin Kaepernick ran for a 15-yard touchdown with 9:57 remaining, but his pass to Randy Moss on the two-point attempt failed.
Tucker extended the lead to 34-29 on a 38-yard field goal with 4:19 to go, but the Ravens’ defense stood its ground the rest of the way to pull off the win.
After the outage, the 49ers outscored the Ravens 25-6.
“Both teams had to deal with it. Actually, I thought they dealt with it better, obviously,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They were able to turn the momentum of the game.”
But how did the Ravens handle that long of a delay in the biggest game of the year?
“Honestly, I just went out there and tried to keep everybody focused, and keep everybody loose,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “I just started catching passes to put my mind off the lights. That is probably the first time that’s probably happened in the Super Bowl. For something that strange to happen, you just had to keep your focus.
“We were on a roll just then, and to stop that momentum and we saw when things started to shift. But we finished it. It shows what our team is built for, no matter what we’ve been faced with. Coach (Harbaugh) called us up during the break and said, ‘Whatever goes on here, it doesn’t matter. We are here to finish this race.’ And we finished it.”
Safety Ed Reed thought the outage affected the Ravens.
“The bad part was we started talking about it,” he said. “That was mentioned. It was like they were trying to kill our momentum. I was like, ‘There are two teams on this field.’ Once we started talking, it happened. We had to refocus and we did.”