Finally, the root cause of the blackout that caused the Mercedes Benz Superdome to go dark during Super Bowl XLVII has been discovered. After the longest half-hour passed and the lights were turned back on during Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, officials found themselves scratching their heads trying to figure out what caused the half-hour blackout.
One small device among $4.2 million dollars worth of electrical “stuff” put in place in an upgrade by Entergy, who was the main energy supplier to the Super Dome, caused the light failure. Amazingly, the device is “the” device that was supposed to guarantee nothing like this ever happened. It is called an electrical relay device. Yes indeed, a “relay” is to blame for making another NFL history moment.
“During the Super Bowl, 'the relay device triggered, signaling a switch to open when it should not have, causing the partial outage,' the company wrote in a statement. 'This device has since been removed from service and new replacement equipment is being evaluated.'"
The Ravens who were in the lead had just scored an impressive 108-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones just before the lights went out early in the third quarter. The score was 28-6 and a gasp could be heard as well as felt as everyone waited for the lights to come back on.
Although the lights never went fully down, it did cause quite a stir. Many of the players went into maintenance mode. They could be seen stretching-out all over the field. The coaches were visibly “stirred-up”, and CBS could not perform their full range of coverage.
The scoreboards were down, and other than a few lights here and there it was dark. The fans were surprisingly calm as they waited, but rumors had already begun to stir as to why. Could it have been Beyoncé's Halftime Show? Was someone intentionally messing with the game? No one knew, but all they did know was they wanted the “show to go on”.
“The SMG executive Doug Thornton said Friday that the Superdome was using only about two-thirds of its power capacity Sunday night,”according to the New York Times.
The pause did seem to interrupt the momentum of the game. The Ravens seemed to loose some steam as the 49ers gained a scary amount of ground, but then the Ravens regained their push for the win and pulled it out. The Ravens won over the 49ers by 34-31 in one of the most visibly entertaining Super Bowl games ever.
Charles Rice, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans said,
"'While some further analysis remains," Rice said, "we believe we have identified and remedied the cause of the power outage and regret the interruption that occurred during what was a showcase event for the city and state.'" (NFL.com)
Despite the slight glitch, it was a game to remember. Both teams can be proud, and the coaches who are brothers will have a lot to talk about as they remember the game that almost went awry when a relay turned the lights out.
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