Why Did the Lights Go Out at the Super Bowl?

Adam Clark Estes

Sometime between the Baltimore Ravens beating the San Francisco 49ers and the Ravens crushing the 49ers, half of the lights in the Superdome went dark, and Twitter lit up with curiosity -- and jokes. "Wondered Is this the part when Bane comes out with a kidnapped nuclear physicist?," wondered CNN's Peter Hamby in a tweet. Approximately all of Twitter followed with Batman jokes, with a quip about Beyoncé's super human entertaining skills here and there, while thirsty Super Bowl party-goers went for another beer. But everybody was really wondering: Why the heck did the lights just go out at the Super Dome? 

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As players sat down to stretch and officials jogged into a huddle to figure out what to do next, there wasn't a terrible amount of information about what caused outage. Surely, the possibility of a terrorist attack crossed some people's mind, though that was quickly ruled out. Weather was ruled out, too, since it was 66-degrees and clear in New Orleans at game time. The next most obvious possibility is that it was some sort of problem with the power grid, a surge or something maybe. However, Entergy New Orleans who provides power to the Super Dome tweeted within minutes of the outage, "Power issue at the Super Dome appears to be in the customer's side. Entergy is providing power to the Dome."

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Here's the thing: NFL football games drink up a lot of electricity, and blackouts during games are not unheard of. Just two years ago, a game between the 49ers and the Steelers was delayed twice due to power outages, after a transformer exploded just outside of the stadium. It sounds like that there was a similar overload at the Superdome this year. "This is a situation totally out of our control. We have been told that there was a blown transformer," said presenter Mike Chapman. "The safety lights are on but our cameras are now up and running again." A few minutes later, the lights flickered back on, and the teams started getting ready to start the game. But the joking tweets didn't let up. Writer Neil Pollack wins in our opinion, "This time, it's the rich people trapped in the Superdome."

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