NEW ORLEANS -- With the 49ers trailing 28-6 early in the third quarter, it appeared that the lights had all but gone out for them in Super Bowl XLVII. They had been short-circuiting in every department -- offense, defense, special teams.
But after a sack of quarterback Colin Kaepernick that left the 49ers with a third-and-13 play at their 40-yard line, the lights really did go out at the Superdome with just under two minutes elapsed in the second half -- perhaps to the 49ers' good fortune.
A power failure occurred at 7:38 p.m. CST, leaving the stadium lights too dim to continue play. The game did not resume until 34 minutes later. But on their next drive after the outage ended, the 49ers appeared to discover a newfound energy source that was just a few sparks short of a historic Super Bowl comeback.
At least that's what a lot of the victorious Baltimore Ravens thought. The 49ers, not so much.
"Nah, I don't think that had anything to do with it," said linebacker Ahmad Brooks after the 34-31 defeat. "We had to go through the same thing they had to go through. It just took us a little longer to lose."
Almost to a man, Brooks' teammates felt the same way.
"No effect," guard Alex Boone said.
"We barely even spoke to each other during that time," safety Donte Whitner said. "Everything that was needed to be said was said in the locker room."
Coach Jim Harbaugh sidestepped a few questions about the outage.
The Ravens, on the other hand, thought the long break had a tremendous impact on the 49ers' momentum and their lack of it.
"Actually, I thought they dealt with it better, obviously," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "They were able to turn the momentum of the game."
Even though the delay was 34 minutes, the Ravens' offense was actually off the field for a lot
Then came the blackout.
"Honestly, for myself, I was a little stiff when I got back out there," running back Ray Rice said. "The offense was sitting for an hour. Was it tough getting out there? It was pretty tough."
"Oh my goodness, we had them reeling quite a bit, we'd just returned a kickoff and everything was rolling," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "We lost a lot of momentum, and credit to (the 49ers), they came storming back and played tremendous."
"Any time you're sitting around waiting, waiting, waiting, you know the momentum can change," cornerback Corey Graham said. "I think it was Beyonce, man. I heard she did so much out there, she blew the power out."
If the lights don't go out, would it have been a Baltimore rout?
"We can play the ifs and buts game all night," center Matt Birk said. "It happened. It's not ideal for the powers-that-be, but how many more commercials did they get to run? The NFL is probably chock-full of cash now. It was iffy if they were going to make a profit, but with the extra commercial time, I think it pushed them into the black."
Cornerback Carlos Rogers was one of the few 49ers who thought the outage may have helped reverse fortunes for both teams.
"That was a good thing because momentum changed, and we started to make our run," Rogers said.
Entergy New Orleans and SMG, which manages the Superdome, issued a joint statement regarding the blackout.
"A piece of equipment designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system," the statement said. "Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue. Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed."
The Ravens were just happy to have survived it.
"The bad part is we started talking about it," safety Ed Reed said. "It was like they were trying to kill our momentum. Once we started talking, it happened. We had to refocus and we did."