The Super Bowl’s Showstopping Blackout

    An Electric Game:
    Gamblers will bet on anything related to the Super Bowl. There are prop-bets available for the most esoteric of occurrences; the length of the National Anthem, the outcome of the coin-flip, or even the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach. The 2013 Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers featured something for which no Vegas bettor was prepared: a 34 minute power outage in the stadium.

    The Ravens went into their locker room at halftime with a comfortable 21-6 lead over the 49ers. Fans across the world spent the intermission enraptured by the enigmatic Beyoncé, accompanied by the fading remnants of Destiny’s Child. Unlike her “performance” at the Inauguration last month, this time Beyoncé showed the viewing audience her true show-stopping abilities. According to early Nielsen estimates, it was the second most watched Halftime Show of all time, with approximately 108 million viewers.

    What really stopped the show was the ensuing delay in action. Shortly after the kickoff return TD for Baltimore, half the lighting in the Superdome went off. During this stretch of over half an hour, there was neither gameplay nor any advertisements.

    One group that definitely benefitted from an extra pause was the sinking 49ers. Down by 22, the additional time to stretch and strategize reinvigorated the team; they nearly executed a comeback of historic proportions. The 34-31 final score indicates just what a boost the blackout was for Jim Harbaugh’s team.

    Entergy Services, the local power company, has since offered a statement claiming it was an “abnormality in the system” and that the Superdome was the only location in New Orleans that lost power. After the fallout from Bountygate during the offseason (suspensions of players and coaches), football in New Orleans has been under heavy scrutiny. Many believe that the snafu at this year’s Super Bowl will be a last straw for the Big Easy; hypothesizing that the city will be eliminated from contention for hosting the championship game in the future.

    Next year’s Super Bowl XLVIII will be hosted in the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. It is slated to be the first intentionally cold-weather championship in the modern era. If all goes according to plan, maybe there is the potential for a Philadelphia-based Bowl in the foreseeable future. One thing is for sure: our fans would not sit quietly through a power outage.

    Hot Links:

    Super Bowl Outage Shines Bright (Washington Post)

    The Super Bowl Power Outage: 5 Conspiracy Theories (The Week)

    Power Outage in Superdome Delays Super Bowl (NY Times)

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