NFL says it was ready with backup power system

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - NFL officials were sure they’d get the Super Bowl finished on Sunday night.

And if they couldn’t, the league championship still would not have ended where it temporarily stopped, with less than two minutes gone in the third quarter. The Lombardi Trophy goes to the winner after 60 minutes, not 32.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday the Superdome had a backup power system which was about to be used during the Super Bowl’s electrical outage. It wasn’t needed because power started coming back at that time, he said.

Superdome and utility officials were still trying to nail down the precise cause of the 34-minute Super Bowl blackout, but league officials said that, because of the backup system, the game wasn’t in danger of being postponed.

“That was not a consideration last night,” NFL vice president of business operations Eric Grubman said at a news conference Monday. “That is not what was at play.”

Goodell was sitting with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the game. The Meadowlands will host next year’s Super Bowl.

“We already had the conversation,” Goodell said about avoiding a repeat of the blackout. “This is clearly something that can be fixed, and it’s clearly something that we can prepare for. And we will.”

Grubman said Goodell has the “sole authority” to enforce any contingency plans, and was in perfect position to do so Sunday night.

“He was there and he had the full reports,” Grubman said. “We were quickly able to determine we did not have a situation that would cause a permanent interruption in the game. There were no safety issues, we had multiple equipment and sources of power.”

And if they didn’t?

While declining to be specific, Grubman said the league has “backup plans” for continuing the game. Those plans all focus on playing the full 60 minutes, regardless of whether it is the same day or on another day.

So the Ravens, ahead 28-6 at the time of the partial blackout, wouldn’t have simply been declared the winners. This isn’t baseball, where half a game is considered official.

In the end, Baltimore still won, beating San Francisco 34-31. The momentum shifted tremendously after the lights went back on, however, with the 49ers rallying to make it 31-29 at one point in the fourth quarter, and missing a 2-point conversion pass that would have tied it.

Having to replay _ or finish _ the Super Bowl on another day would clearly have been a major headache for the NFL.

The Super Bowl invariably is the highest-rated television show of the year. Playing it any other time but Sunday evening would create trouble for the networks.

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