NFL says it was ready with backup power system

By Barry Wilner/The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The NFL says there was a plan B to finish the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

The Superdome had a backup power system that was about to be used during the NFL championship’s electrical outage but it wasn’t needed because power started coming back at that time, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

The NFL has contingency plans for game interruptions, regardless of the cause.

The 34-minute Super Bowl delay occurred when a piece of monitoring equipment sensed an abnormality in the electrical load feeding the dome, officials have said. But the game wasn’t in danger of being postponed because of the backup system.

“That was not a consideration last night,” NFL vice president of business operations Eric Grubman said at a news conference Monday. “That is not what was at play.”

Goodell was sitting with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the game. The Meadowlands will host next year’s Super Bowl.

“We already had the conversation,” Goodell said about avoiding a repeat of the blackout. “This is clearly something that can be fixed, and it’s clearly something that we can prepare for. And we will.”

Grubman said Goodell has the “sole authority” to enforce any contingency plans, and was in perfect position to do so Sunday night.

“He was there and he had the full reports,” Grubman said. “We were quickly able to determine we did not have a situation that would cause a permanent interruption in the game. There were no safety issues, we had multiple equipment and sources of power.”

And if they didn’t?

While declining to be specific, Grubman said the league has “backup plans” for continuing the game. Those plans all focus on playing the full 60 minutes, regardless of whether it is the same day or on another day.

So it’s unlikely that the Ravens, ahead 28-6 at the time of the partial blackout, would have simply been declared the winners and awarded the Lombardi Trophy. In the end, Baltimore still won, beating San Francisco 34-31. The momentum shifted tremendously after the lights went back on, however, with the 49ers rallying to make it 31-29 at one point in the fourth quarter.

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