published Monday, February 4th, 2013

Wiedmer: Superdome blackout gives Super Bowl its juice at end

Half the lights are out in the Superdome during a power outage Sunday in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Raven in New Orleans.
Half the lights are out in the Superdome during a power outage Sunday in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Raven in New Orleans.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We may never know whether Beyonce's sizzling halftime show or Jacoby Jones' 108-yard kickoff return to start the second half was the chief reason the power briefly went out in the Superdome early in the Super Bowl's third quarter Sunday night.

But once the game resumed 35 minutes later, it's certain that the juice certainly shifted from Baltimore to San Francisco.

It made a 28-6 Ravens rout become a shaky 31-29 lead. It led to a finish that will disrupt Harbaugh family reunions for possibly decades to come, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh sure to argue that he would have beaten older brother John if the officials had called pass interference against the Ravens on San Fran's final offensive snap.

And had that happened, Baltimore might not have won 34-31, to send retiring linebacker Ray Lewis out with another Super Bowl ring.

But maybe if the power hadn't gone out, it never would have been much of a game. We'll never know. We just know that all those advertisers coughing up $3.5 million per 30-second spot are happy it ended it as it did, the result not certain until the final horn.

And if there was justice in the result, it might be that the older brother won. John said afterward of his post-game handshake with Jim, "It's the hardest thing I've ever experienced. I just told him that I loved him."

In some ways, this Super Bowl hit its zenith before the opening kickoff. If there was a dry eye in the house after the 26-member Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus combined with Jennifer Hudson on "America the Beautiful" there shouldn't have been.

Even the Ravens and Niners appeared more than a little moved, especially Baltimore offensive guard Bobbie Williams, who seemed to be fighting back tears throughout the song.

Nor was Alicia Keys' slow and soulful rendition of the National Anthem without noteworthy praise.

As for the commercials, Calvin Klein's men's underwear ad should possibly have contained a parental warning, but Ram Trucks' tribute to farmers with Paul Harvey's priceless narrative will hopefully be replayed time and time again, as should Jeep's tribute to our military featuring Oprah Winfrey's voice.

On the comedy side of things, Taco Bell's ad featuring senior citizens breaking out of a retirement village for a night on the town was tough to beat, as was the CBS house ad for Big Bang Theory, where one of the cast members is ridiculed for attempting to put on football gear.

"I think the [shoulder] pads go on under the jersey," his roommates say. "The cup, too."

One thought about the supposedly controversial Volkswagon commercial featuring the white guy from Minnesota who pumps up his coworkers with his "don't-worry-be-happy" Jamaican voice.

It reportedly offended some in the African-American community, and if it did perhaps it went too far. But if it had been an office full of blacks and one of them began speaking like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island fame? Would a similar controversy have arisen? Just asking.

In the end, the game was good enough to overcome Calvin Klein, Go Daddy.com and a power outage.

Or maybe the power outage made it a great game.

Whatever, it showed once again that Jim Harbaugh's Niners never quit, even if they may finally waited a wee bit late to begin their rally.

It also showed that the same Joe Flacco who once led Delaware into the 2007 NCAA Division I-AA title game against Appalachian State inside our own Finley Stadium has become a pretty fair pro, given his Super Bowl MVP trophy following his three touchdown passes.

Said Flacco at game's end, "We don't make it easy."

But they definitely made it worth turning the lights back on to watch the finish.

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

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