Surviving The Great Blackout Of Super Bowl XLVII
The Night (Some Of) The Lights (Inside A Stadium) Went Out In New Orleans.
Last night's Super Bowl blackout in New Orleans went something like this.
At first, the lights dimmed in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after Jacoby Jones' 100-something yard kick return. Just like they had done in preparation for Beyonce's pyro-laden halftime show. Then, the screaming scoreboards and screens that dotted the stadium went black. Then you could feel the air get a little warmer -- there went the A/C -- then you heard 72,000 people murmuring in bewilderment. And then light boos.
And then Bane showed up on one side of the stadium to execute a nuclear scientist and...
Okay, that didn't happen, but surely plenty of you thought that that was what could be next. Or the Undertaker was about show up with Paul Bearer to challenge Ray Lewis to a cage match.
For thirty minutes those of us inside the stadium knew little about what was going on. Press boxes went black. The folks at home were treated to more commercials about horses and beer and babies, and the CBS Sports crew killed time talking about the first half of the game. Quirky history was in the making.
The hashtag #OutageBowl popped up on Twitter.
Social media instantly made Hurricane Katrina and looting jokes. I began hoarding box lunches that were under the media seats for use later as currency for safe passage to the restroom.
The sportswriters around myself and fellow Houston Press scribe Sean Pendergast wondered aloud what would happen if the power never came back on. Would this be the first Super Bowl slash riot in history? Would we need to fight our way out of the Superdome like gladiators?
The Superdome Curse is real. New Orleans Saints faithful and the souls of the bodies buried under the stadium are getting revenge on commissioner Roger Goodell for Bountygate.
The players left on the field immediately began stretching and throwing footballs around to keep limber. Official-looking guys and gals were at the 50-yard line making phone calls and waving their arms in the air at each other as precious advertising dollars went down the drain. The PA announcer finally cut in to tell us that "No, the North Koreans hadn't invaded New Orleans in a daring Mississippi River assault," and that in fact, power would be on shortly.
"So, would they finish the game tomorrow sometime? Have us all come back for the next two quarters tomorrow afternoon?"
Then the large lights ringing the roof of the stadium began stirring. And the A/C kicked back on. The screens in the stadium rebooted. The soft strains of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" kicked in. Game on.
Two plays later, we all received copies of a hurriedly written missive from the NFL. About the outage. Social media trumps print yet again, and the makeshift shiv I made out of my game program disappeared.
Hours later this came through over e-mail from the NFL, via Entergy and SMG, the management company behind the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. 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.
Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed. Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome.
The fault-sensing equipment activated where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy's feed into the facility.
The Ice Bowl, the Heidi Bowl, the Outage Bowl. What a grand story to tell my grandchildren one day when they ask in thirty years if I ever saw one of those vicious sports matches that used to turn men's brains into gumbo inside their skulls.