Super Bowl Blackout: Why Did the Power Go Out At the Superdome?

The most glaring part of Super Bowl XLVII was not the Raven’s offense, the 49ers (lack of) defense, or the glitzy halftime show — it was the 34-minute power outage that delayed the game, casting half of the indoor stadium dark.

But what caused the sudden blackout early in the third quarter?

Was it Beyonce’s sizzling dances?

Did Ray Lewis kill the lights (pun intended)?

As the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, the electricity issue was not on the end of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but rather on the end of the utility facility (located a distance from the Superdome). Apparently the energy feed to the Superdome was overloaded, setting off blackout and the half-hour-plus game delay.

The Ravens were leading the 49ers 28-6 when the scoreboard ceased operations at 7:37 p.m. CT and all except a bank of ceiling lights stopped working.  The emergency lights that came on were the same ones that were used during Hurricane Katrina when the Superdome became an impromptu shelter for thousands seeking refuge.

Electricity to the Superdome was never interrupted, meaning the cause of the blackout that affected the Super Bowl was on the facility's end, utility officials said Sunday.

The Entergy Storm Center website, which provides updates on power outages in New Orleans and across the region, showed no power interruptions near the Superdome in downtown New Orleans during the blackout, seeming to indicate it was an isolated incident only affecting half of the Superdome.

Once power was restored, Entergy released a statement reaffirming that its "distribution and transmission feeders were serving the Mercedes-Benz Superdome."

The blackout mirrors a similar problem seen in December 2011 at the 49ers home of Candlestick Stadium.

In that instance, the 49ers said off-site transformer problems may have caused the outage, casting a crowded stadium in dark. The California-based Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said the initial blackout that delayed the start of the game by about 20 minutes occurred when a wire that carries the stadium's main power supply broke.

The issue also seems to have to do with older stadiums: Candlestick stadium is 51-years old, while the Superdome is 44-years old. 

The game did eventually resume and Balitmore won 34-31. Ray Lewis loved it.

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