(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
The lights went out at the Super Bowl on Sunday night, almost derailing the Baltimore Ravens hopes of winning the game, and now many fans have been left asking, "What caused power outage?"
With the clock stopped at 13:28 in the third quarter of the game and the Ravens leading 28-6, suddenly half the lights went out in the Superdome, sparking a frenzied panic among technicians to get the lights back on so the game could resume as soon as possible.
The incident was the first time in the Super Bowl's history that the game had been delayed, with several hundred banks of lights suddenly going dark, and inside the stadium escalators and the giant scoreboard shut down.
On CBS play-by-play announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were unceremoniously cut off as millions of viewers were forced to watch silently as cameras showed clips of darkened areas of the stadium.
At the time the NFL issued a statement that read: "Stadium authorities are investigating the cause of the power outage. We will have more information as it becomes available."
On TV announcements were then made suggesting that the power outage had been caused by an outside power feed into the stadium. However, they story was later dismissed by Entergy New Orleans, which is the company that provides power to the Superdome.
Philip Allison, a spokesman for Entergy, said the Superdome was receiving full power, and he quickly shifted the blame to personnel working inside the stadium rather than his company.
''All of our distribution and transmission feeds going into the Superdome were operating as expected,'' Allison has claimed.
Upon reports that the embarrassing event was being blamed on them, Entergy New Orleans, also quickly sent out a tweet stating: "Power issue at the Super Dome appears to be in the customer's side. Entergy is providing power to the Dome."
The delay initially was thought to likely be short and the players were asked to stay on the field. However, the delay dragged on for more than half an hour and it took 34 minutes for the game to eventually be restarted. With the players already having a 40 minute break to make way for Beyonce's halftime show, it meant the players had only played a few minutes of football in about an hour and a quarter.
The huge delay seemed to definitely work in the San Francisco 49ers favor. Prior to the outage they were being well and truly outplayed by the Ravens and were 22 points behind. However, as soon as the game restarted the game was turned on its head and the 49ers stormed back in the third quarter to make it one of the most tense fourth quarter finales in Super Bowl history.
The Ravens eventually held on, just, for a 34-31 victory.
''We sincerely apologize for the incident,'' Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan said - well aware that had the Ravens lost the game a huge inquiry would have been held into whether the outage had changed the result.
Following the game, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the power outage ''an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the city of New Orleans.''
Eventually the Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh was able to joke about the incident. However, many have commented that he would likely have been furious with the delay had Baltimore fallen short of the win. As it was, the Ravens' coach could relax and look back at the incident with a chuckle, saying: "Both teams had to deal with it. I thought they dealt with it better, obviously. They were able to turn the momentum of the game."
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs also laughed about the incident in the aftermath, jokingly suggesting the 49ers had implemented a secret plan to get back into the game: "Jim Harbaugh, he got a little trick up his sleeve, huh? It was too much at that moment, so I saw him radio into his little headset. He said: 'Red team go'. He gave out order 66. 'Turn the lights out, slow the Ravens down'. It slowed us down, but it didn't stop us."
His reference to "Order 66" being to Star Wars, when a secret plan to overthrow the Jedi is put into motion with those words.
Here is a video of the power outage at the Super Bowl 2013: