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Beyonce not to blame for Super Bowl blackout

10:56 AM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
By: Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment
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NEW ORLEANS - Beyonce's high-powered halftime show did not cause the 33-minute power outage in the third quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl, NFL and Superdome officials said Monday morning.

Doug Thornton, the Superdome's manager, said Beyonce's show was run strictly on "generated power" and the stadium's main power was "metered down" during the show because the house lights were turned off.

Instead, early indications from Entergy, the local electric company, are that the power outage was the result of a problem in one of the two feeder lines that power the stadium from an external substation. When an abnormality was detected, the system automatically shut off power to the west half of the stadium at 7:37 p.m. CT. Play resumed at 8:30 p.m.

Thornton was sitting in the NFL control station when half of the stadium went dark. He has run dozens of major events here and was in charge of the dome when it became home to thousands of stranded New Orleans residents during and after Hurricane Katrina.

"I couldn't believe it, to be honest with you," Thornton said. "It's pretty disappointing because it played out on a worldwide stage."

Thornton said he, the NFL and police officials were able to determine within two minutes that they had a power issue and not a public safety issue and were confident power would be resumed soon enough that the league would not have to resort to any contingency plans. Entergy had a backup power system in place that could have been used should the outage have lasted longer.

Thornton said it is "too soon to speculate" that Sunday's power outage was related to any major issues with the Superdome, a 38-year-old building. Thornton said SMG, the company that owns and manages the dome, has spent millions of dollars to upgrade the interior and infrastructure of the dome, including its power components.

"There is no indication it was a building issue," Thornton said.

Thornton said the outage also was not connected to a fire alarm that sounded for nearly 45 minutes in the upper level of the stadium.

Goodell said in his Monday morning press conference that the power outage will likely have no bearing on bids from New Orleans to host future Super Bowls. Civic officials are hoping the NFL's biggest game returns here in 2018.

"I don't think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered as one of the greatest Super Bowl weeks, and we thank New Orleans for that," Goodell said. "I hope we will be back here. We want to be back here."

Among the guests in Goodell's suite at the Superdome on Sunday night was New Jersey governor Chris Christie, whose state will host the Super Bowl next year at MetLife Stadium. After the blackout, Goodell said he and Christie spoke about plans for ensuring a similar problem does not happen in the NFL's first Super Bowl to be played outside at a cold-weather site.

"You always identify this as a potential concern, and it's something we always have to do proper steps to make sure we're prepared for that," Goodell said.

By Lindsay H. Jones

USA Today

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