NEW ORLEANS — Sunday was supposed to be New Orleans’ day, it’s time to shine after 11 years of not hosting a Super Bowl and 7 ½ years after Hurricane Katrina.’s man-made destruction tore the city apart.
In the most New Orleans of ways, the city – and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – assured the world that it would not just be part of the story, it would be the story.
Less than two minutes into the second half of Super Bowl XLVII, the lights went out.
It took nearly 34 minutes for them to come back on.
And as New Orleans power Tweeter and social media sarcasm expert @skooks pointed out, “The power outage is one of those classic NOLA moments. You either get it or you don’t. We get it. And that’s why we love it here.”
The problem is, it wasn’t just those in New Orleans watching.
It was the whole world tuned in, more than 100 million pairs of eyes turned to TV sets, watching as three quarters of the lights in the stadium went out just after Beyonce rocked the halftime
While no one in the Dome panicked, the immediate impact was noticeable on the internet, where in this day and age, any slipup or mistake becomes instant fodder for the masses.
Like clockwork, the consensus was that this power outage ruined New Orleans’ chances of any future Super Bowls.
There was Stephen A. Smith, made famous for being an ESPN contrarian, who tweeted, “This is sickening. If somehow B’More’s momentum is thwarted here, what do you say. I’d ban the SB from New Orleans for next 20 years for this!”
Or there was Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports, who tweeted, “Hope New Orleans enjoyed this week. It won’t get another Super Bowl after this.”
And even NBC’s chief political analyst Chuck Todd weighed in, tweeting, “The SuperDome just hosted its last Super Bowl.”
Then there’s Forbes’ quick reaction, saying the Superdome needed to be replaced and that New Orleans wouldn’t get another Super Bowl until there’s a new stadium here.
Fact is, that’s a complete overreaction. All of it.
By all accounts, the week of Super Bowl XLVII was one of the most successful ever. The city was lauded daily for being the one city best setup for the big game. Tweet after tweet and statement after statement spoke of how well run this week’s went.
“It’s been amazing down here all week,” Ravens safety Cary Graham said. “… I haven’t had a bad experience all week.”
New Orleans is setup perfectly to host events like the Super Bowl, both with the amount of hotels in the city center and the proximity of everything. The people are great, the food is outstanding and the weather is generally unbeatable.
Yes, the lights went out and yeah, that’s embarrassing. It’s a black-eye for both the Superdome and those operating it and to the NFL.
But this just doesn’t change things in the grand scheme. It ultimately didn’t change the outcome of the game because, how many times have you heard this, both teams had to deal with it.
The power outage doesn’t hurt New Orleans’ chances for anything.
The city is bidding on the 2018 Super Bowl. The bid will certainly have to account for what happened in the third quarter and what has been done to fix whatever issue occurred.
That game is five years down the line and you can be assured that the problem will be corrected.
New Orleans doesn’t need a new stadium. More than $330 million have been put into it since Katrina. It’s a fairly new structure that needs tender love and care, but it’ll get it.
She’s too valuable to the city and state for it to languish.
Then again, no one should expect those outside of New Orleans to understand like we do.
The rest of the country panics.
We don’t and that’s in our DNA.
The same way we don’t panic when floats break down, we don’t panic when the lights go out.
And when the city celebrates its 300th birthday, it also will celebrate its 11th time to host the Super Bowl.