Concerned that the Superdome might not be able to handle the energy needed for its first Super Bowl since Hurricane Katrina, officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on upgrades to decayed utility lines, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The improvements apparently weren’t enough, however, to prevent an embarrassing and puzzling 34-minute power outage during the third quarter of the game between Baltimore and San Francisco.
Officials still have not pinpointed the cause of the outage. The Superdome’s management company, SMG, and the utility that supplies the stadium, Entergy New Orleans, announced Tuesday that they would hire outside experts to investigate.
‘‘We wanted to leave no stone unturned,’’ said Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde. He said the two companies had not been able to reach a conclusion on the cause and wanted a third-party analysis.
Tests on electrical feeders that connect incoming power from utility lines to the stadium showed decay and ‘‘a chance of failure,’’ state officials warned in a memo dated Oct. 15. The documents also show that Entergy expressed concern about the reliability of the service.
The memo said Entergy and the Superdome’s engineering staff ‘‘had concerns regarding the reliability of the Dome service from Entergy’s connection point to the Dome.’’
The memo was prepared for the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, the state body responsible for the Superdome.
Authorities subsequently authorized spending nearly $1 million on Superdome improvements, including more than $600,000 for upgrading the dome’s electrical feeder cable system, work that was done in December.
‘‘As discussed in previous board meetings, this enhancement is necessary to maintain both the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena as top tier facilities, and to ensure that we do not experience any electrical issues during the Super Bowl,’’ said an LSED document dated Dec. 19.
Eric Grubman, NFL executive vice president of business operations, said Tuesday that the league was aware of the pregame upgrades to the utility lines, ‘‘which we understood to be important and beneficial.’’
Vanden Bosch cut
The Lions released two veteran starters, cutting defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and guard Stephen Peterman. Vanden Bosch. a three-time Pro Bowler, signed a four-year contract with Detroit worth $26 million when he arrived before the 2010 season. On Monday, the Lions released wide receiver Titus Young, who according to ESPN.com was picked up by St. Louis Tuesday . . . The Giants released linebacker Michael Boley after four seasons. The 30-year-old made 10 tackles in New York’s victory over New England in last season’s Super Bowl . . . The Browns released end Frostee Rucker after one season.
Saints will hire Ryan
The Saints plan to hire former Cowboys assistant coach Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN.com. The boisterous Ryan was fired as defensive coordinator of the Cowboys on Jan. 8. Ryan said, “I’ll be out of work for like five minutes.” . . . San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson believes he has earned a long-term contract, and hopes not to play on a third straight one-year deal in 2013. If the Niners won’t reward him, Goldson said, he would pursue opportunities with any of the other NFL teams.