Super Bowl Goes Dark for a Half-Hour: What Happened?

Feb 4, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The Super Bowl went dark for more than half an hour during the third quarter Sunday night, when half of the stadium’s power suddenly went out. The incident raised questions among viewers and fans about what went wrong, reports the New York Daily News.

One organization that dropped the ball during the blackout in New Orleans, according to the story, was CBS, which failed to press the NFL with questions.

"At a time when they should have been aggressively gathering news, CBS’s crew was satisfied with the crumbs the NFL dropped on them," the story notes. "Not once during the 34-minute delay did a representative of the National Football League appear on camera to attempt to explain what caused half the Superdome to lose power. Why should they? No one from CBS put any pressure on them."

The article continues, "CBS pays billions for the right to air NFL games. Much of that dough is shelled out to secure rights to the Super Bowl. So, on the big night, there is a major screwup and the NFL won’t put someone on the air — and CBS won’t push the league — to try to explain what’s going on? That’s mind-boggling."

CBS issued an official statement following the incident. The statement from Jennifer Sabatelle, VP of Communications for CBS Sports, says: “Immediately after the power failure in the Superdome, we lost numerous cameras and some audio powered by sources in the Superdome. We utilized CBS’s backup power and at no time did we leave the air. During the interruption, CBS Sports’ Steve Tasker, Solomon Wilcots and our studio team reported on the situation as a breaking news story, providing updates and reports while full power was being restored to the dome including our sets and broadcast booth. All commercial commitments during the broadcast are being honored.”

A report in the Los Angeles Times asks whether singer Beyonce caused the blackout, noting that the problem occurred only a few minutes after her halftime performance. Her show included "dazzling visual effects and light displays," and the blackout happened just 90 seconds into the third quarter, the story notes.

The piece notes, "Alas, it appears that human error, rather than the divine power of Queen Bey, was to blame for the outage. Although neither the NFL nor the Superdome provided an immediate explanation for the incident, the blackout appeared to be limited to the arena and on CBS, [host James] Brown indicated that a power surge was to blame."

One Comment

  1. This report highlights what is wrong with our society needing immediate answers to complex questions. The immediate answers are almost always based on conjucture and opinion and are nearly alway wrong. If I am the head electrician or manager of the Superdome in the middle of an enormous public failure, the LAST thing I would do is speak to some ex-jock or big suit when I am trying to find out the answer AND fix the problem. Tell them “we are working agressively to recitfy the situation and we’ll get back with you.” Speak to the media AFTER you have the answer. So you don’t have 2 major screw ups in 30 minutes. Just because there is enormous sums of money on the line still doesn’t mean that you can get an answer BEFORE anyone else knows.

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