When the power went out at the Superdome yesterday I was sitting in a lounge on the club level, it went pitch black. The game had gotten disappointing for 49er fans and Baltimore was rubbing salt in their wounds with the kick off return for a touchdown. The pitch dark caused a moment of confusion, it doesn't "fit" and so I wonder if people realized what was going on, add in the alcohol and everyone let out a big cheer in the dark. And then it went quiet. Emergency lights flickered back on, we ran out to see what happened inside because we thought maybe the power failure was only in our lounge.
When you're watching the game on television you see this very differently than the people there do. We got no information, no instruction, no answers. Interestingly, most people stayed in their seats, and I was one of a relatively few people who started asking questions. The stadium employees told me "there is no plan for something like this." Police officers seemed annoyed by me asking too much. They wanted me to accept their answer, "it's just a power outrage." I couldn't find anyone who seemed to know anything. Three guys with walkie talkies knew nothing. I didn't have a press pass so I couldn't leave and run to the press box. People in the upper deck started doing the wave. Some guys got up and bought beers. Fans from LA asked me to take a picture with them. There was very little panic. I heard one guy say, "if something bad is happening, there will be a scary stampede. But fans didn't leave, they started getting texts from their friends and families. My brother texted "are lights still off?" "Scary??" ... Then, "fun?"
I sent back "fun", I thought it was, at first. My mom texted "what's happening they say the halftime show blew the transformers." My husband called his dad, and didn't find out much. But there were still no announcements, people inside the dome were getting their info from family and friends thousands of miles away. Eventually a male voice came on the loudspeaker telling everyone play would resume shortly. The 75,000 fans stayed calm, stayed in their seats and started talking about never forgetting this moment. I don't know how they vamped on TV- I didn't hear it but I have since learned that CBS assured the advertisers that their commercials would run.
I called a source of mine and he told me that NFL officials were meeting in Roger Goodell's suite. The working theory was that Beyonce's half time show warmed the place up- literally because she used pyrotechnics, and that kicked up the air conditioning and caused a power failure. It seems League officials were also perplexed as they gave no official statement. If it is true, are you telling me that no red flags were raised during dress rehearsal? It is common for the performers to rehearse their shows, did anyone even question the use if fire? We could feel the heat from the flames in our seats in the middle section.
This morning I read a statement from the organization that handles the Superdome and it may as well be written in ancient Aramaic. Something about a surge and things working the way they're supposed to. So we all need to accept that a system is designed to shut down, and black out the Superdome in the middle of the biggest event in the world?
Here in New Orleans the city council leaders are calling it a little glitch in an otherwise perfect Super Bowl event. How is anything perfect when the blackout exposed what could be a weakness in security? All the pr is in motion, an airport worker said to us as we waiting in a security line, "that little power outrage was no big deal'" smiling, seemingly embarrassed that something would again cast a shadow on this city that has suffered so much.
I cant help but feel bad. But as I get ready to leave New Orleans it's still nagging at me. The game went on, and it actually got a lot better. People went back to talking about how the power outage affected the game and the players. And after the game got so exciting, people stopped talking about it all together.
The mayor of New Orleans has called for a full investigation, and we all should. When a game as big as and as symbolic as the Super Bowl broadcast around the world and seen by millions, can be blacked out for 34 minutes, shouldn't we all wonder who out there sees a vulnerability like the one that caused two giant skyscrapers to collapse?
Ray Lewis is going out a champion, though he nearly went out on the losing end of the greatest Super Bowl collapse.
In a game that featured several firsts — including a bizarre scene in which the power went out early in the third quarter that saw the 49ers completely change the momentum of the game — the Ravens finished off their storybook run for their retiring leader, holding off the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Sunday, 34-31.
Capping a pretty perfect postseason, Joe Flacco completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three first-half touchdowns Sunday to earn Super Bowl MVP honors for leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 34-29 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Flacco became only the sixth quarterback in 47 Super Bowls to throw for three scores in a first half, connecting with Anquan Boldin for 13 yards, Dennis Pitta for 1, and Jacoby Jones for 56.
And the unassuming guy who played his college football at Delaware finished Baltimore's four-game run to the title with 11 TD passes and zero interceptions. It was an impressive run that included road victories against two of the game's best QBs, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
For Flacco, the question of how close he is to elite has been answered. He capped one of the greatest postseason runs by a quarterback in postseason history with his first Lombardi Trophy.
For Lewis, the win gives him a second championship to cap his 17-year career. And in this one, it was actually the rest of the Baltimore defense that carried the day — barely.
The Ravens forced one turnover that led to a touchdown on the Ravens' ensuing drive, then another swinging the field position in Baltimore's favor, which ultimately led to another score before halftime.
But the game actually came down to the closing minutes, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick unable to connect with Michael Crabtree in the end zone on a fourth and goal from the Ravens' 4-yard line with 1:50 to play in the game.
But the game's most memorable moment actually came in the third quarter, with the Ravens leading 28-6. With the 49ers facing a third and 13 from their own 40, the power went out in the Superdome. With players milling about on the sidelines and commentators scrambling for information, the game was delayed 35 minutes.
After power was restored and the game resumed, the teams swapped punts. Then the 49ers caught fire. Crabtree caught a 31-yard touchdown from Kaepernick with 7:28 to play in the third, making it 28-13 Ravens.
After a three-and-out by the Ravens, Ted Ginn returned a punt 32 yards to the Baltimore 20. After Kaepernick hit tight end Vernon Davis for a 14-yard gain, running back Frank Gore ran into the end zone from six yards out to make it 28-20.
Two plays later, Ravens running back Ray Rice fumbled and the 49ers recovered, and the momentum was clearly on the 49ers' side. The 49ers capped that ensuing drive with a field goal to make it 28-23, and, after a Baltimore field goal made it 31-23, Kaepernick scored a touchdown on the ground with 10:04 in the game to make it 31-29. But the 2-point attempt that would have tied the game was incomplete, and a field goal by Tucker with 4:23 to play made it 34-29 Ravens.
The Ravens got on the board first, Joe Flacco finding Anquan Boldin from 13 yards on Baltimore's first drive for a 7-0 lead 4 minutes, 24 seconds into the game.
As the second quarter opened, the 49ers were driving and appeared on the verge of perhaps taking the lead. That's when the famed Baltimore defense made its presence felt for the first time.
San Francisco running back LaMichael James fumbled before his knee touched the turf and defensive end Arthur Jones recovered the ball, thwarting the drive on the Baltimore 25 with 11:53 to go in the second quarter.
Flacco & Co. immediately responded, going 75 yards in 10 plays, the QB hitting tight end Dennis Pitta for a 1-yard score and a 14-3 lead with little more than seven minutes to play in the half. Then the defense was back at it.
On the 49ers' first play of the ensuing possession, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was intercepted by Baltimore safety Ed Reed at the San Francisco 44 and returned to the 49ers' 38. And once again the Ravens offense went to work. But this time, they failed to finish.
Even when it appeared the Ravens made a potentially costly mistake, the Baltimore defense was there to save the day. Facing a fourth and 9 from the 49ers' 14 with 3:12 to go in the second quarter, the Ravens sent rookie kicker Justin Tucker onto the field for 32-yard field goal, which would have stretched Baltimore's lead to 17-3. But the Ravens ran a fake, Tucker taking the snap and racing around the left corner. But he was stopped 3 yards short of the first down by safety Darcel McBath, giving San Francisco the ball on its own 6 with 3:05 left in the half to play — and a shot at getting back in the game.
Not to worry. The Baltimore defense made quick work of the San Francisco defense, forcing a three-and-out and surrendering only six yards, giving the Ravens the ball back on their own 44 with 2:07 to play in the half.
And that set up the play that put the game away — and propelled Flacco into the NFL quarterback stratosphere. Facing third and 10 at the Baltimore 44 with 1:58 to go in the half, Flacco threw deep to Jacoby Jones. Jones outmaneuvered 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver, grabbing the ball and falling to the turf at the San Francisco 8-yard line in the process. But realizing that no defender touched him, Jones got back up and outraced Culliver to the end zone for a score and a commanding 21-3 lead for Baltimore.
The 49ers again answered with a field goal, David Akers making it 21-6 just before the half.
For good measure, the Baltimore special teams then took its turn, Jones opening the second half with a 108-yard kickoff return for a score and a 28-6 lead.