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Tuesday, February 05, 2013 2:30:28 PM (IST)  

US Super Bowl blackout: Officials have no answer

Washington, Feb 5 (IANS): A day after a 34-minute blackout at Super Bowl, America's biggest pro football game of the year, red -faced officials were still trying to figure out what went wrong.

However, the Sunday night's blackout, which plunged parts of the 73,000-seat Superdome in New Orleans, the largest city in Indian American governor Bobby Jindal's home state of Louisiana, did not play spoilsport for millions of TV viewers.

President Barack Obama, who had friends over to the White House for a Super Bowl party, was at first concerned that there could be a security issue, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

"The initial response that we all had was 'I hope everyone's OK, it's not a security issue,'" Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. "And then once that became clear, it was just impatience to get the game going again."

Officials have not yet explained why the power outage occurred, although New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has pledged an investigation into what he called "an unfortunate moment" and said foul play is not suspected. Aside from the delay, it appears that Obama enjoyed the game - the most-watched television event in American history.

About two hours after the game, officials revealed that an "abnormality" in the power system triggered an automatic shutdown, forcing backup systems to kick in, according to CBS. But they weren't sure what caused the initial problem.

Auxiliary power kept the playing field from going totally dark, but escalators stopped working, credit-card machines shut down, and the concourses were only illuminated by small banks of lights tied in to emergency service.

Most fans seemed to take the outage in stride, even starting up the wave to pass the time.

The FBI quickly ruled out terrorism, and the New Orleans Fire Department dismissed reports that a fire might have been the cause.

Jokesters and advertisers had a field day as they scrambled to take advantage to what was dubbed "Super Bowl MVP -- the most valuable power outage" and "the blackout bowl."

Within four minutes of the outage, advertisers had sent out their first tweets, making it the No. 1 Twitter-related moment of the Super Bowl, generating 231,000 tweets per minute, according to CNN.

Beyonce's electrifying halftime performance wasn't to blame for the blackout, according to Doug Thornton, manager of the state-owned Superdome, since the singer had her own generator.

But the general consensus on social media appeared to be that "Beyonce blew the fuse! Genius!" tweeted singer Adam Lambert as cited by CNN. Matchbox Twenty guitarist Paul Doucette, who was at the game, tweeted a picture of the blackout.

"Beyonce left and apparently took electricity with her," he said. "Damn she's good."

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