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Super Bowl blackout linked to Chicago company

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 00:02

football stadium

AP Photo

Football fans endured a 34-minute delay after parts of the Superdome lost power during the Super Bowl Feb. 3. The blackout was linked to a faulty relay, which was produced by the Chicago-based S&C Electric company.

While most Beyoncé fans would find it hard to believe the bright revival of Destiny’s Child did not cause the blackout of power at this year’s Super Bowl XLVII, the actual blame may lie with a Chicago-based electric company.

As the second highest-rated Super Bowl in 27 years, most of America was watching the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans fight for the champion title. In the third quarter, after Beyoncé’s halftime show, half the stadium lost lighting and power, delaying the game for about 34 minutes. After the power was restored, the game continued, with the Ravens holding off the 49ers’ comeback run for the victory.

After the Superdome lost power, there were many speculations on who to blame for this major delay. The first fingers pointed at Beyoncé’s flashy halftime show that stormed the Superdome. But, ironically, the cause of the blackout may have stemmed from a project beginning in 2011 in order to protect the power by ensuring the protection of a cable linking from the power grid to the Superdome for the Super Bowl.

Entergy New Orleans, the company responsible for the project, told the New Orleans City Council that the system had functioned smoothly for events prior to the Super Bowl, like the Sugar Bowl that took place in the dome Jan. 2.

The blackout-causing fault occurred in an electrical device, a relay, that was created by Chicago-based company S&C Electric company. The vice president of strategic solutions of the company, Michael J.S. Edmonds, told the Associated Press that "if higher settings had been applied, the equipment would not have disconnected the power.” After this comment, tests were conducted on manufacturing of the product and showed that while one of the relays to the dome worked, the other failed.

Some students, however remained convinced that Beyoncé’s powerful performance had a hand in the power outage. “Clearly her performance was so miraculous it shut down the power,” said freshman public relations student Katie Alto. “It was the Beyoncé Bowl, not the Super Bowl … the special effects and everything in terms of electrics and power use were outstanding, how could it not be the cause? It’s Beyoncé.”

Kara Garvey, a student in University of Illinois’ College of Media, said this misconception could contribute to Beyoncé’s career. “After the blackout, it will only boost Beyoncé’s image in the public as putting on a show so big it was able to shut down an event as large as the Super Bowl,” said Garvey.

According to an article in Sports Illustrated, NFL Commissioner Goodell said the league will continue to keep the New Orleans Superdome in the league for hosting future games. While Beyoncé’s halftime performance blew the minds of countless viewers, it did not indeed blow out the power at this year’s Super Bowl XLVII.

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