by Ryan Meehan
I don’t know a goddamned thing about electricity. I couldn’t tell you how a circuit breaker worked if you had my balls in a trash compactor a second before it was about to be turned on. The world of electricity remains a mystery to me and it probably always will. So I’m going to sound like a major prick criticizing something that I know nothing about.
When the lights went out during the third quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday, only one word crossed my mind: Inexcusable.
I’ve been giving the city of New Orleans a lot of shit over the past few years because I don’t really think it’s a city that can sustain a healthy NFL franchise, let alone a Super Bowl. One of the arguments that I’ve heard over the past few days is that this could have happened anywhere and that it’s unfair to single New Orleans out as electrical problems can happen in any major city that holds an event like this.
That’s very true…it COULD have happened anywhere. But it didn’t happen anywhere, it happened in New Orleans. In case you missed it, New Orleans is the city in Louisiana that I said in two separate columns this past week was not ready for the return of the Super Bowl.
As it turns out, there were a lot of people who were aware that this could be a potential problem. Check out this article from ABC News on Tuesday:
Perhaps the most damning quote from this story is the following:
“Tests on the electrical feeders that connect incoming power from utility lines to the stadium showed decay and “a chance of failure,” state officials warned in a memo dated Oct. 15. The documents, obtained by the AP through a records request, also show that Entergy expressed concern about the reliability of the service before the Super Bowl.”
Holy fuck. You have got to be kidding me. Do you mean to tell me that the site for this game was decided years ago and it took somebody until three and a half months ago to stress the fact that the lights might go out? This is a game changer (no pun intended).
Like I said, I’m not that knowledgeable about how power lines are installed or repaired. However, it would seem to me like replacing the “decaying” lines would be a lot more reliable solution than repairing them. But what do I know?
Apparently not as much as the Kommissar, because according to him New Orleans handled everything well.
‘To New Orleans’ relief, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the city did a “terrific” job hosting its first pro-football championship in the post-Katrina era. “I fully expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls,” he said, noting a backup power system was poised to kick in but wasn’t needed once the lights came back.”
Of course it wasn’t needed once the lights came back on, that’s not why or when you need a backup power supply. Did I fall asleep during the part where logic was redefined? That’s an insane thing to say. I suppose once the floodwaters receded back in 2005 there was no need for the levees as well, huh?
Look, regardless of my education about electricity and power I don’t feel like I am in any way out of line by suggesting that New Orleans was not ready to host the Super Bowl. The power went out because there was some kind of abnormality in the feed that caused a shortage of power to the lights in the ceiling. The same ceiling that is attached to the roof of the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
That roof? You mean the one that came very close to blowing off of the rest of that building during Katrina? Get right out of town. I would have never guessed in a million years that building wouldn’t be in adequate shape to sustain an entire week of Super Bowl hype, the game itself, and one of the most wasteful halftime shows in recent memory. I’m not sure what it is, but something about the Superdome has always sort of weirded me out. It has a lot of very Astrodomesque and Metrodomesque like qualities to it, and it’s always seemed to me like it was a stadium that wasn’t really built for long term usage. Tropicana field in Tampa would fall under the same category.
If you’re going to build a facility like that, that’s fine. It’s up to your metropolitan area to make that decision.
But you shouldn’t be getting to host Super Bowls. What happened on Sunday was something that there is absolutely no excuse for. None. I don’t want to hear about how this and that wasn’t up to speed or how the Commissioner thinks it’s no big deal that the power went out during the most crucial part of the biggest sporting event of the year. Not going to listen to it. If the city or the energy company put out a press release this very moment saying that space monkeys came down from the moon and fucked the power out, everybody involved in this ordeal better have a good goddamned reason why there wasn’t enough protection from moon monkeys that like to fuck stadiums that you probably wouldn’t even let your stepchildren play soccer in.
Mistakes do happen, but on a stage this large it’s very difficult to swallow as fans that 1) this was something that could have probably been avoided if the city of New Orleans (or the NFL) had spent a little bit more money making sure everything that supplied power to the stadium had been replaced, and 2) this outage didn’t affect the momentum of the game. Did it make the game more interesting? Of course it did…but as much as I would like to see an interesting game, I’d also like to see a fair one and I think the commissioner and the league owes it to the integrity of the game to make sure this happens. It’s my own personal belief that the NFL was more concerned with getting the Super Bowl back to New Orleans than it was making sure the game went off without a hitch.
And that’s inexcusable.