NEW ORLEANS — Where were you when the lights went out?
The 49ers were in the dumps. They had just fallen behind the Baltimore Ravens 28-6 in Super Bowl XLVII, and were desperately trying to get something rolling when most of the lights in the Superdome suddenly went out.
Players retreated to their sidelines, NFL executives appeared on the field and began to talk to head coaches Jim and John Harbaugh, and the crowd mostly tittered. It was eerily reminiscent of a Monday-night game at Candlestick Park in 2011, when a blown transformer knocked out the lights twice, before the game and again during the action.
This time, the lights remained out for 20 minutes, and play was suspended for 34 minutes. Air conditioners, escalators and, for a while, Internet connections also went kaput.
“The funny thing is, the light was actually really good when the lights went out,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “I don't know what it would have looked like on TV, but I think the receivers still would've been able to see the ball. The biggest issue was with the headsets.”
The Ravens' headsets were working. The 49ers' were not.
Strangely, the delay seemed to spark the Niners. They immediately commenced their comeback attempt when power returned, scoring 17 consecutive points to get back in the game.
All of the 49ers polled on the subject insisted that the outage had nothing to do with their comeback. The Ravens thought it might have helped the 49ers.
“I thought old Jim Harbaugh had a little trick under his sleeve,” Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “He ran into that Ravens buzz saw. He was like, 'Hey, turn those lights off. Red team go, red team go.'”
Paying the penalty
The 49ers were penalized five times for 33 yards Sunday, certainly not excessive. But they hurt themselves badly at a couple of junctures in the game.