It's been nearly two days, and still nobody's quite sure what caused the Super Black Out of 2013 as an outside investigation takes over. But new evidence reveals there may have been early warning signs ignored by stadium officials, and other theories continue to boil over, from fans of the Saints to, you know, Batman. Here's the latest on every big conspiracy and real engineering answer as to why we all had to wait around for 34 minutes of Super Bowl action when the power went out at the Super Dome in New Orleans on Sunday.
Beyoncé certainly didn't do it
So, how about that halftime show? Pretty... electric, eh? It was so good we almost blacked out. If Destiny's Child played "Jumpin' Jumpin'," we would have blew a fuse. (Thaaat's enough.) More than a few people joked on Twitter that Beyonce and her unforgettable performance caused the second-half blackout. It was her hairdryer lol, said all the unfunny people at the same time. But then commentator Boomer Esiason gave the joke some roots in the real world: a radio producer told him the power went out in the Superdome a few times during halftime rehearsals. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shot down the idea, though, because Beyoncé used her own power generators for the performance. "It was not on our power grid at all," said Doug Thornton, a rep for the company who runs the Superdome.
Oh, the Brazilians said WHAT?!
Brazil is a modest country that is good at a certain kind of football but not the right kind of football. Also, they're hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. A bunch of Brazilians thought it would be funny to make fun of the U.S. because it's not properly equipped to run fancy sporting events as well as a fancy country like Brazil, because if it did the power would go out all the time and everything would go wrong. The U.S. hasn't hosted an Olympics since 2002, or a World Cup since 1994, but totally could if it wanted to! If they ever gave it a chance...
At least one Senator tried to politicize the power outage
Was it rogue anarchist fans who caused it?
Maybe, but probably not. Anarchist Saints fans and desperate 49ers fans looking to swing momentum are two poplar conspiracy theories that don't hold much weight when put up to the light. Yes, would probably love nothing more than to ruin things for everyone else, just like their season was ruined by Roger Goodell. And San Francisco fans certainly benefitted from the blackout. The game turned around for their team after the blackout. But the FBI ruled out sabotage, so that theory doesn't hold water. (We still kind of think New Orleans fans did it, though.)
Didn't I see this in a movie once?
Somewhere, Danny Ocean was getting fake-beat up in a holding cell deep in the Superdome's basement. But no, there was no major heist happening somewhere on the 49ers sideline. The thievery came later under the lights.
But I've definitely seen this in a movie before
No, Bane didn't do it either.
Does that mean it was...
Did electricity stop coming to the stadium?
No, Entergy released this statement:
"At all times, Entergy's distribution and transmission feeders were serving the Mercedes-Benz Superdome," the company said. "We continue working with Superdome personnel to address any outstanding issues."
So, like, what caused the blackout then?
It's still not entirely clear why the blackout happened. There are two reports this morning, one from the Associated Press and one from The Times-Picayune, that say city officials knew the Superdome's electrical equipment showed signs of decay and "weren't sufficiently reliable" to host an event of the Super Bowl's magnitude in October.
Entergy and SMG, the company responsible for managing the Superdome, installed $4.2 million worth of upgrades to the stadium's electrical feeding equipment. They changed the number of feeder lines going into the the stadium from two to three, meaning there should have been two back up power lines picking up the slack if the primary one failed. The Superdome's own equipment was still showing potential signs of failure, but officials weren't worried because they previously hosted Final Four games, two Bowl Championship Series games, and last year's NFC championship game. It's not like the Superdome only comes out for use once a year.
Officials are calling what happened an "abnormality" they can't properly explain just yet. It might be a switchgear that feeds electricity to the stadium that's timed to turn off if a problem is detected. But where the problem originated from is what's confounding officials. The Times-Picayune put together this flow chart about what we know right now:
The Entergy vice president in charge, Dennis Dawsey, was practically dumbfounded that things went wrong. "In essence, you've got a brand new feeder, new cable, new switchgear, with protective equipment serving the Dome, and there's two backup feeders that can be switched to in the event we lose the primary feed," Dawsey said. More investigations and conclusive answers are expected shortly if all these theories don't die down. Update: Indeed, the AP reports that Entergy and SMG will "hire outside experts to probe" the outage.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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