Superbowl Blackout: Investigation Under Way

superbowl-blackout_2470837bAn investigation is under way into one of the most embarrassing incidents in Super Bowl history after a power cut plunged half of the stadium into darkness and saw the game delayed for more than 30 minutes at a crucial point in the contest.

The power failed just 90 seconds into the second half, shortly after Beyoncé had completed a glitzy halftime show which involved fireworks and an elaborate light show.

It left players, coaches and fans inside the stadium and the millions watching on television waiting for 34 minutes as the authorities worked to switch the power back on.

Yesterday the National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell said that an investigation was under way and that while an “abnormality” in the system was responsible for the power cut it was still unclear exactly what caused this.

But any suggestion that Beyonce’s performance had contributed to the power failure was played down by the company which manages the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Doug Thornton, of the management company SMG, pointed out that the performance was operating on a separate self-generated power source.

And he claimed that the stadium was using less power than usual at the time of the blackout because the cool weather meant that the cooling system was not relied upon.

A joint statement from SMG and Entergy, the energy company in the area, gave the official reason for the outage.

“A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system,” a statement read.

“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.” But it did not stop fans speculating with some suggesting that the stadium, which is built near to a cemetery, tis cursed.

Fans blamed the ‘curse’ for the poor fortunes of the New Orleans Saints, the football team which plays at the stadium, until they won the Super Bowl in 2010.

It was also pointed out by one newspaper, the Times-Picayune, that the blackout came after a series of electrical repairs at the stadium were approved late last year to get it ready for the Super Bowl.

There was also certain irony in the power outage given that the hosting of the game was billed as a signal of New Orleans’s revival following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Lack of power was just one of the issues faced by many residents during that disaster.

For those viewing in the UK, the power cut would have brought back memories of the Asian betting scandal in the late 1990s when a syndicate was found to have deliberately arranged for the floodlights to fail during Premier League matches so as to win bets placed with bookmakers in Malaysia whose practice at the time was to pay out on the result as it stood.

The NFL, however, said there was no evidence that this was the case during Sunday’s game.

Nonetheless it was an embarrassment for the game’s authorities during the sport’s showpiece event. It is certainly the first time such a thing has happened at the Super Bowl.

The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “It was an unfortunate incident that we are looking into and trying to get the facts.” He added that one person had been injured when an escalator failed during the power outage.

Most observers agreed that the power outage worked to the advantage of the San Francisco 49ers who performed better when the power resumed. Having been down 28-6 they came back and nearly levelled the game before losing 34-31 to eventual champions, the Baltimore Ravens.

There was another winner of the evening. Several companies were quick to capitalise on the power cut to advertise their products.

“We can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out,” the detergent company Tide tweeted. While the pharmacy Walgreens tweeted: “We do carry candles.”

VIA: The Telegraph

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