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What caused power outage at Super Bowl: Is 'abnormality' the whole story? (+video)

'What caused power outage' may be the biggest mystery of Super Bowl XLVII. The local energy company cited an 'abnormality in the system,' but the root cause for that is still unknown.

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The halftime show and the CBS broadcast were operating on their own power sources, separate from the rest of the stadium, a representative of SMG said Monday morning, according to the news site, which covers the New Orleans area. Separately, the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District said the blackout was unrelated to emergency electrical work that was done at the Superdome in December, the news website reported.

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The incident was relatively brief, as power outages go. But it occurred at an important time and place – right in the stadium where the National Football League (NFL) championship was at stake, with millions of Americans watching, and with the momentum resting heavily with the Baltimore Ravens.

Jacoby Jones had just returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown in a Super Bowl record run of 108 yards. The score favored the Ravens 28-6.

The problems appear to have had little effect on viewership. According to ratings reported by, viewership dipped a bit during the outage, but were high throughout the game.

A final audience tally isn't yet in, but TVLine said the "overnight household rating" for the game notched a 1 percent gain over last year’s contest, which the NFL has claimed as the most-watched US show ever, with 111.3 million viewers.

CBS commentators struggled to know what to make of the domed darkness. Jim Nantz offered this crack to colleague Phil Simms: "Next time you decide to plug in your phone charger, give us a warning, will you?”

As can sometimes happen in sports, the unexpected delay gave an opening to the trailing team.

When the lights were powered up, and play resumed, the 49ers made it look like a whole new game, rolling steadily toward a nearly even score.

In the end, the Ravens held the line against the Niners final, must-do drive. So Super Bowl XLVII won’t be known for an outcome determined in part by an electrical fluke. But the outage may have helped to make the game one for the history books, for the razor-thin 34-31 victory by which one Coach Harbaugh beat another.


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