For a moment there, the nation's most spectacular and overly mediated pastime—the Super Bowl—got really dark.
Looks like Super Bowl XLVII set two distinct records last night--drawing a Neilsen rating of 48.1 (or, a 48-percent share of viewers across the nation), it was, unexpectedly, the most watched Super Bowl in history. It was also the first to suffer an embarrassing power outage in the middle of game time. Super Bowl 47, then, was easily the most watched blackout in US history.
The cause? Mechanical failure, basically. Entergy, the giant, New Orleans-based utility that supplies power to the city, says that the flow of electricity was never cut. The power was on—provided by in-state coal and nuclear plants. The Superdome just blew a giant fuse.
"It apparently started at the spot where Entergy feeds power into the stadium's lines," reads a statement issued by Entergy and SMG, the company that operates the stadium. "A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. 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."
No official word has shed any more light on the precise nature of this "abnormality." CBS says it was because of a faulty monitor. Some commentators connected it to a similar depletion of energy amongst the Ravens after the first half. Batman fans linked it to Bane. Jay-Z says it was because of Beyonce. Deluded Twitter goons say it was because of Obama.
Jay-Z might actually be right—it's possible that the boom in power demand during Beyoncé's halftime show, or an "abnormality" that occurred as levels returned to normal, could have triggered the machine that essentially acts as the Superdome's giant surge protector.