After a power outage delayed Super Bowl XLVII for 34 minutes, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and three other officials answered questions about the event Monday. The group discussed the immediate reaction to such an event, the NFL's plan going forward and whether or not Sunday's failure will affect how the league selects its host cities for the Super Bowl.
Goodell opened Monday's press conference by stating the league was still working to find the cause of the power outage. Despite the bizarre event, he praised New Orleans for being an excellent Super Bowl host.
"On the blackout, we have a few people here to address some of those issues for you more specifically, but obviously we're going to be working to find out what actually caused the issue," Goodell said. "They're going through a process they call a ‘root cause analysis,' which I could not explain to you, but we will do it. The most important thing is to make sure that people understand it was a fantastic week here.
"This will not affect the people's view in the NFL about the success of the game here in New Orleans. We know that they have an interest in future Super Bowls and we look forward to evaluating that going forward. I do not think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered as one of the great Super Bowl weeks. And, again, we thank the people of New Orleans for that."
Goodell was asked if Sunday night's event would cause the league to look past New Orleans as a potential future Super Bowl host. He quickly shot down that idea, saying "I don't agree with that ... I do not think this will have an impact on future Super Bowls here in New Orleans. I fully expect we'll be back here for Super Bowls, and I hope that's the case."
New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls, which is tied with Miami for the most all time. The Louisiana/Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which opened in 1975, has hosted the NFL's ultimate game seven times. Before Sunday, the last time the Super Bowl was played at the Superdome was in 2002.
There was reportedly an inadvertent tripping of a fire alarm in the press box shortly before halftime Sunday night, and some have wondered if that had anything to do with the power outage. Doug Thornton, SMG VP of stadiums and arenas, denied that claim and also addressed a rumor that the halftime show, which featured a performance by pop singer Beyonce, may have caused the failure.
"The halftime show, as the commissioner said, was running on 100 percent generated power, which means it was not on our power grid at all," Thornton explained. "As a matter of fact, during the halftime show we were metering the amperage, as we normally do, and we had a drop in the amperage used and the consumption of power because our house lights went down; we went to a dark house. There was no correlation at this point that we can make with the halftime show, because it was on 100 percent generated power."
One thing that Goodell and Thornton made clear was that the NFL is not blaming New Orleans or the Superdome for the problem. Right now, the league may not know what caused the power outage, but Goodell and Thornton believe that it was a one-time incident that can be addressed, and any contributing issues at the stadium can be fixed.
"If we determine there is some sort of electrical issue inside the facility, we will address it. Like the commissioner said, these are fixable problems. At this point, it's premature to speculate on what the issue is. All I can tell you is we spent millions of dollars upgrading our facility, including our electrical theater system."
For now, the Superdome is escaping blame, but don't be surprised if the stadium's infrastructure faces intense scrutiny in the coming weeks and months.