Posted: Feb 4, 2013 1:05 PM by Associated Press
Updated: Feb 4, 2013 1:07 PM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The NFL says there was a plan B to finish the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
The Superdome had a backup power system that was about to be used during the NFL championship's electrical outage but it wasn't needed because power started coming back at that time, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The NFL has contingency plans for game interruptions, regardless of the cause.
The 34-minute Super Bowl delay occurred when a piece of monitoring equipment sensed an abnormality in the electrical load feeding the dome, officials have said. But the game wasn't in danger of being postponed because of the backup system.
"That was not a consideration last night," NFL vice president of business operations Eric Grubman said at a news conference Monday. "That is not what was at play."
Goodell was sitting with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the game. The Meadowlands will host next year's Super Bowl.
"We already had the conversation," Goodell said about avoiding a repeat of the blackout. "This is clearly something that can be fixed, and it's clearly something that we can prepare for. And we will."
Grubman said Goodell has the "sole authority" to enforce any contingency plans, and was in perfect position to do so Sunday night.
"He was there and he had the full reports," Grubman said. "We were quickly able to determine we did not have a situation that would cause a permanent interruption in the game. There were no safety issues, we had multiple equipment and sources of power."
And if they didn't?
While declining to be specific, Grubman said the league has "backup plans" for continuing the game. Those plans all focus on playing the full 60 minutes, regardless of whether it is the same day or on another day.
So it's unlikely that the Ravens, ahead 28-6 at the time of the partial blackout, would have simply been declared the winners and awarded the Lombardi Trophy. In the end, Baltimore still won, beating San Francisco 34-31. The momentum shifted tremendously after the lights went back on, however, with the 49ers rallying to make it 31-29 at one point in the fourth quarter.
As the Superdome's energy provider and stadium management try to determine what caused a 34-minute power outage at Sunday's Super Bowl, local officials are hoping the incident won't leave a black eye on the city or prevent the league's big game from coming back to town.
Larry Roedel, a lawyer for the state board that oversees the Superdome, said Monday that the outage did not appear to be related to work done on the stadium's electrical system in December. The work, approved by the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District last fall, replaced feeder equipment connecting the stadium to power provider Entergy New Orleans.
Entergy and the company that manages the Superdome, SMG, said Sunday that an "abnormality" occurred where stadium equipment intersects with an Entergy electric feed, causing a breaker to create the outage. It remained unclear Monday exactly what the abnormality was or why it occurred.
But Doug Thornton, manager of the Superdome, said that when the power outage hit, meters indicated the stadium was drawing less power than it does during a typical New Orleans Saints game.
Thornton said millions of dollars have been spent upgrading electrical equipment in the building since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and none of it failed. He said it was working properly when power was restored.
He also said there is no evidence that the halftime show had anything to do with the outage, which struck early in the third quarter. He said the show used its own dedicated generator and wasn't using the Superdome's power supply.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu told WWL-AM (www.wwl.com) on Monday that the city still wants to make a bid to host the NFL's championship game again in 2018 and that the outage won't hurt its chances.
Landrieu said league owners were impressed with the city's performance as host and even joked that the game got better after the blackout. ""People were leaving and the game was getting boring, so we had to do a little something to spice it up," he said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said New Orleans was a terrific Super Bowl host and that the outage won't affect future bids.
"I fully expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "And I hope we will be back. We want to be back."
Goodell also said the Superdome had a backup power system ready to go, and it was about to be used when the power started coming back on.
Dr. Bjorn Hanson, dean of New York University's Center for Hospitality and Sports Management, said Monday that the power outage shouldn't hurt New Orleans' reputation as a convention destination.
"I think people view it for what it was: An unusual event with a near-record power draw," he said. "It was the equivalent of a circuit breaker flipping."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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