NEW ORLEANS — The morning after a freak blackout left Super Bowl XLVII in the dark and stopped play for 34 minutes, NFL and utility officials still searched for the power failure’s cause.
But if Sunday night’s outage is going to hurt New Orleans’ chances of a hosting the big game going forward, league commissioner Roger Goodell did a good job of hiding it.
“This will not affect the peoples’ view in the NFL about the success of the game here in New Orleans,” Goodell said at a Monday morning news conference.
“We know that they have an interest in future Super Bowls, and we look forward to evaluating that going forward,” Goodell added. “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.”
The NFL hasn’t always been so forgiving.
Six years ago, there was another similarly unforeseen Super Bowl disruption. An unseasonable weather pattern dumped more than an inch of rain on the Dolphins’ stadium, and league decision-makers haven’t forgotten.
Despite Goodell saying last week that football is meant to be played in the elements, advocates of a publicly financed Sun Life Stadium renovation argue that the Miami Gardens facility needs a rain-stopping canopy to bring the nation’s biggest game back to town.
The roof — with a price tag north of $100 million — is part of a planned $400 million overhaul to the stadium.
Dolphins officials are asking for state and Miami-Dade County help to cover nearly half those costs.
Miami is competing with the still-in-construction Santa Clara, Calif., stadium to host Super Bowl L and have used the looming decision — which will come in May — to create a sense of urgency in Tallahassee and county hall.
Although the deluge in 2007 was an inconvenience for those in attendance, Sunday night’s power outage affected more than 100 million viewers nationwide. The game clocked in at more than four hours — the longest ever. It didn’t end until nearly 11 p.m. EST.
Rodney Barreto, head of the region’s Super Bowl host committee, said Monday that the embarrassment was just another reminder why the game should regularly return to South Florida.
“Miami is a proven entity that’s done major events, year-in and year-out, and thankfully, we’ve had no major issues,” Barreto said.
“Eventually, (NFL owners) will realize that South Florida is the place to be,” he added.
“I think some of the owners are going to say, ‘How many more times are we going to be embarrassed?’ “
If that was the takeaway from Sunday’s blackout, Goodell didn’t get it.
“This is clearly something that can be fixed and it’s clearly something that we can prepare for,” Goodell said. “And, we will.”
Added Doug Thornton, who oversaw the $336 million renovations to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina: “It was a flawless event up to that point.”
During his media availability, Goodell also batted down a rumor that had been making the rounds early Monday: that the power outage was caused by Beyonce’s pyrotechnic halftime show.
Rather, Entergy New Orleans _ the city’s power company — said Monday that it is continuing to work with the stadium to determine the root cause of the power disruption.
“Until the investigation is complete, any statements on possible causes of the outage are just speculation,” the company posted on its Twitter account.
Eric Silagy, president of FPL, said Monday it was too early to compare what happened in New Orleans with the precautions and backup systems in place at Sun Life during a Miami Gardens Super Bowl.
“There are so many different things that can happen,” Silagy said after a morning address at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce breakfast. “I’ve learned in these incidents it is very easy to jump to conclusions. Often, they’re wrong.”
FPL, a private power company, does not have a role in Louisiana’s electrical grid.
Regardless of the cause, Barreto — who was in New Orleans last week to tour the Superdome but returned to South Florida before the game — said Super Bowl organizers were lucky it wasn’t worse.
“Could you imagine if the lights would have gone out in the whole stadium, and not just half of it?” Barreto said. “It would have been mass chaos.”
The Dolphins will not increase prices on season tickets for the general bowl, the team announced Monday. Tickets for the 2013 season went on sale Monday, and start at $34 per game.