NEW ORLEANS — Super Bowl XLVII ground to a halt early in the third quarter Sunday night, when about half of the lights in the Superdome went out.
Lights in the New Orleans stadium’s upper tier went dark with the Baltimore Ravens leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6, minutes after the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones ran back the kickoff that opened the second half a record 108 yards for a touchdown.
About 10 minutes later, an announcement inside the Superdome indicated that the lights would be restored “momentarily.” A short time later, lights began coming back on incrementally.
A piece of faulty equipment designed to monitor electrical load malfunctioned, opening a breaker and shutting off some of the power in the building,
During the outage and the slow restoration of lights, players stayed on the field, talking to one another and stretching, waiting for play to resume. Spectators largely followed requests to remain in their seats.
Jeff Darlington, a reporter for the league-funded NFL Network, tweeted out a picture showing “the outside lights … completely out. Very, very eerie.”
A spokesman for Entergy, the utility that powers the Superdome and much of the area, said the problem was confined to the stadium itself.
“We are providing power to the dome,” said Entergy spokesman Philip Allison. “Power in (the rest of) New Orleans is fine.”
Play finally resumed at 8:10 p.m. (9:10 p.m. ET), about 35 minutes after the last play according to CBS, which broadcast the game.
The NFL subsequently issued a brief statement that acknowledged the problem but did not say what happened: “Stadium authorities are investigating the cause of the power outage.”
Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan, meanwhile, was even more succinct, saying, “We sincerely apologize for the incident.”
Whatever the reason, the restoration of the lights seemed to energize the 49ers.
In about 10 minutes on the play clock, the 49ers notched three scores — a 31-yard touchdown reception by Michael Crabtree, a 6-yard touchdown run by Frank Gore and a 34-yard field goal by David Akers — to tighten a once-daunting gap and make the score 28-23 at the end of the third quarter.