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What caused the Super Bowl blackout?

February 04, 2013|By Houston Mitchell
  • Super Bowl play is stopped after power went out in half of the New Orleans Superdome.
Super Bowl play is stopped after power went out in half of the New Orleans… (Ronald Martinez / Getty…)

New Orleans officials were still working Monday to fully understand what caused the electricity to go out in half of the Superdome during the third quarter of the Super Bowl.

It took 34 minutes for the power to be restored. During that time, players milled about the field and tried to stay loose, and fans were left wondering what exactly was going on.

There was no official explanation for what happened before the game ended, leaving many people wondering if we should blame Beyonce's electric halftime performance for blowing out the power.

About two hours after the game, NFL officials said in a statement that an "abnormality" in the power system triggered an automatic shutdown, forcing backup systems to kick in. But they said they weren't sure what caused the initial problem.

"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."


New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the outage "an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the city of New Orleans."

"In the coming days, I expect a full after-action report from all parties involved," he said.

Auxiliary power kept the playing field from going totally dark, but escalators stopped working, credit card machines shut down, and concourses were only illuminated by small banks of lights tied in to emergency service.

Fans didn't seem to mind, looking at it as more time to spend with their beer.

"So we had to spend 30 minutes in the dark? That was just more time for fans to refill their drinks," Amanda Black of Columbus, Miss., told the Associated Press.


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