Sometimes, one play, one moment, one decision can change everything — or maybe only a little bit. Either way, it can be fun to imagine the various timelines if one thing had gone differently. SB Nation NFL is looking at those hypotheticals, alternate universes, and made-up scenarios in our second annual “What If?” week. You can follow along with every story here.
When Beyoncé took the stage at Super Bowl 47, the San Francisco 49ers were already in a 21-6 hole. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw three first-half touchdowns and the San Francisco offense was struggling to keep up.
The good news for the 49ers was they had a propensity for picking up the pace after halftime. San Francisco outscored opponents by 28 points in the first half in 2012 and 114 points in the second half. Just two weeks before the Super Bowl, they clawed back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.
So while Beyoncé was out performing an extravagant halftime show with a mini Destiny’s Child reunion, San Francisco was prepping for its comeback.
The hole only got deeper for the 49ers, though. The second half of the Super Bowl started with Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones taking the kickoff back 108 yards for a touchdown.
Then the lights went out.
While the 49ers were in the middle of a drive into Ravens’ territory, a section of the stadium lights shut down. Initial reports were that Beyoncé’s performance may have been the reason for the outage.
NFL official told me power outage limited to Superdome, wasn't the whole grid. Also, apparently the halftime show with Beyonce was a factor— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 4, 2013
The game was delayed for 34 minutes and when it finally restarted the 49ers failed to convert a third down. They finally got things going on their next possession and rattled off 17 straight points before the end of the third quarter, but the Ravens held off the surge in the fourth.
So what would’ve happened if the blackout never happened?
“We’d have won that,” 49ers wide receiver Ted Ginn told Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe in May. “Yeah we gave them time. We warm up, get back right. ... We were over there like, ‘Hurry, get the power back on.’ We were ready to go.”
That seems ... uh ... optimistic.
The 49ers outscored the Ravens, 25-6, in the 28 or so minutes after the blackout. Colin Kaepernick found his form and the Ravens dialed back the pass-heavy attack that gave them a big lead in the first place. But if any team should have a gripe about a swing in momentum after the power outage, it’s Baltimore.
“It really hurt us. We had lot of momentum,” Ravens fullback Vonta Leach told reporters after the game. “We were rolling. That 35- or 40-minute wait, whatever it was, hurt our momentum as far as what we were trying to do. But we came out on top and that’s all that matters.”
San Francisco can blame its inability to slow down Flacco or start a game strong for losing the Super Bowl. Pointing the finger at Beyoncé — who didn’t even cause the blackout — doesn’t make any sense.