NEW ORLEANS — The Mercedes-Benz Superdome wasn’t plunged into darkness, but it certainly wasn’t nearly as bright as it had been a heartbeat earlier.
For as wonderful a host as New Orleans was in the Super Bowl’s return to this resilient city, and as electric the atmosphere in the Superdome was through the opening half and a high-energy halftime show by Beyonce, it all came to a halt at 7:37 p.m. local time when the giant videoboards and much of the overhead lighting in the building went out.
“It was the strangest thing I’ve ever been part of. That was crazy,” the Ravens’ Bernard Pollard said. “We didn’t know [what was happening]. We were told 20 minutes, five minutes. It’s the first time I’ve ever stretched in the dark with my teammates.”
The outage lasted 34 minutes. Officials of the utility company supplying power to the Superdome said the outage occurred when sensing equipment detected an ‘‘abnormality’’ in the system and opened a breaker, partially cutting power.
“It was just crazy. We were just sitting down like, ‘Wow, this is a [newer] stadium and the power goes out here too after it happened at Candlestick [Park, the 49ers’ stadium] one time on a Monday night game,” San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis said. “This is a new stadium and after the last one [in San Francisco], we understood that we just have to stay warm and get ready to play.”
Baltimore’s Ed Reed didn’t see the need for a delay.
“We could have played with the lights the way they were,” he said. “But football is a game of adjustments.”
Time to start talking
Now that the season is officially over, the Ravens have the task of coming to a contract agreement with quarterback Joe Flacco. There were negotiations last year, but no deal was made.
Last week, Flacco said he didn’t concern himself with the issue once the games began. But coming off such a tremendous postseason — 11 touchdowns, zero interceptions, Super Bowl MVP — he might be looking to reopen talks.
“[Owner Steve Bisciotti] did let me know that if the day came, I could come and beat on his desk. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Flacco said, a smile on his face.
General manager Ozzie Newsome is on the record as saying he wants to keep Flacco, a first-round pick out of Delaware in 2008.
“Joe and I have a good understanding of where his contract is,” Newsome said. “People fail to realize that he was a dropped pass away from getting to the Super Bowl last year. So what he did was just back up what he did a year ago.
“He’s doing a great job. He has great chemistry with [offensive coordinator] Jim Caldwell. Hopefully, as long as I’m the general manager in Baltimore, he’s the quarterback in Baltimore.”
As Flacco said earlier, “It’s a good problem to have and to be talking about.”
Big plays, big impact
Ravens receiver/kickoff specialist Jacoby Jones had a big hand in Sunday night’s win.
His only reception was a 56-yard touchdown, and his third kickoff return, to open the second half, was a 108-yard touchdown, the longest in Super Bowl history.
Born in New Orleans, Jones conducted his postgame press conference with his toddler son on his lap and his beaming family nearby. His mother, Emily, welcomed the Ravens to the city with a spread of gumbo, jambalaya, and other dishes, which his teammates raved about for days.
Jones was a third-round pick of the Texans in 2007. He was released by Houston last May and just days later signed a two-year deal with Baltimore.
He had three return touchdowns during the regular season.
When told his record return had been changed from 109 yards to 108, Jones howled, “Man, they hatin’ on me! They did the same thing to me in Dallas [in October] — from 109 to 108. But I’ll take it.”
Jones is 6 feet 2 inches, 220 pounds, but in high school “I was 5-7, 160 pounds soaking wet and with bricks in my pockets,” he said, laughing. “I’ve been an underdog my whole life.”
Not long after, he began yelling to his teammates stationed around the interview area. “We did it!,” Jones said. “We did it!” Ray Rice responded.
Guessing game with Reed
It’s certain that Ray Lewis is retiring after the Super Bowl, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what might happen with Reed. The safety is slated to become a free agent, but has toyed with the idea of retiring in the past. Though some close to Reed reportedly believe he might be done, Bisciotti doesn’t know which way the future Hall of Famer might go. “I don’t know whether a loss might inspire him to change his mind and I don’t know whether a win will inspire him to change his mind,” Bisciotti said last week. “I really want to defer and not guess what Ed’s going to do, because I don’t know that Ed’s 100 percent sure now. We’ll just let it play out.” Reed is 34, and 2013 would be his 12th season . . . San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is no stranger to the Superdome: He served as linebackers coach for the Saints from 1986-94, brought to the NFL when Jim Mora was hired as head coach. Fangio had also been on Mora’s staff for the Baltimore Stars of the USFL. And not surprisingly, Fangio has worked for both Harbaugh brothers. After stops in Carolina, Indianapolis, and Houston, he landed in Baltimore in 2006 under Brian Billick, as assistant to the head coach/defense. When John Harbaugh supplanted Billick, he kept Fangio aboard. But in 2010, Fangio left one brother for the other. Jim Harbaugh hired him as defensive coordinator at Stanford, putting him in the college game for the first time. Fangio was on the move again a year later, when Harbaugh brought him to San Francisco as defensive coordinator . . . President Obama, in an interview on CBS during Sunday’s Super Bowl pregame show, said the threat of concussions for football players means that everything possible should be done to improve their safety — especially players from youth football leagues through college. Obama, who has two daughters, reiterated his position that, if he had a son, he would have to think about whether he would let him play football. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who also has two daughters, said on CBS’s ‘‘Face the Nation’’ earlier Sunday that he would ‘‘absolutely’’ want his own child to play football. He emphasized that the NFL is funding research to learn more about the risks and changing rules to make the game safer.Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.