Report: Flawed device, errors contributed to Super Bowl blackout
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome stands in semi-darkness shortly after halftime of the Super Bowl on February 3.
March 21st, 2013
09:29 PM ET

Report: Flawed device, errors contributed to Super Bowl blackout

A combination of technical and communication failures contributed to the partial power outage that disrupted this year's Super Bowl, an independent analysis has determined, utility Entergy New Orleans said Thursday.

The power was cut off to half the Mercedes-Benz Superdome early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, causing a 34-minute delay in the February game.

Dr. John Palmer of Palmer Engineering & Forensics said a recently installed relay had a "design defect" that caused it to trip in an unpredictable way.

He said the device's trip level had been left at the factory default setting, which was inappropriate for its application in the dome.

Palmer's report also cited "inadequate communication between the manufacturer and the utility" as a contributing factor.

Post by:
Filed under: Energy • Louisiana • New Orleans • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S.
February 8th, 2012
06:10 PM ET

Overheard on Hey Clint Eastwood, make my day

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Clint Eastwood doing 'Spaghetti' car commercials ... priceless."

Readers buzzed about a Super Bowl ad featuring Clint Eastwood, wondering if "halftime in America" was a political statement or a misunderstood ad slogan.

Don't pick a fight with Clint Eastwood
Were politics buried inside Eastwood's 'Halftime' commercial?

We took a look at responses to a couple of the stories about this subject. Turns out some of our posters are big fans of Dirty Harry, and we saw a variety of descriptions of the actor.

Is he conservative? Some readers said Clint Eastwood ...

"... is a Republican. I don't think he would have done this to plug for President Obama. Maybe the ad is just the truth." –Rrigo

"... is a Hollywood liberal. And a joke." –jcg20

"... has stated that he is a libertarian. Therefore I honestly doubt the ad was politically motivated." –JohnnySeven

"... is an American folk hero, and a lifelong Republican." –bp4truth

"... still has a seemingly naive notion that government can work." –nzgrrj

"... is a staunch conservative (I don't hold that against him as he is a brilliant film maker) so it is not likely he would be endorsing Obama - something (Rove) could never figure out with his tiny brain." –statman29

There were some readers who got the feeling that there were politics behind the ad, whether Eastwood realized it or not. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Economy • Overheard on • Politics • Showbiz • Sports • Super Bowl • TV
Overheard on M.I.A.'s flipped bird takes flight after Super Bowl
M.I.A.'s middle finger was definitely not missing in action during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday night.
February 6th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

Overheard on M.I.A.'s flipped bird takes flight after Super Bowl

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Obscenity mars Super Bowl halftime show? I think you meant Super Bowl halftime show mars obscenity. No gesture, cursing, or wardrobe malfunction could be nearly as offensive as that 'music' was to my ears."

It's amazing how one little finger can say so much, without actually speaking. M.I.A.'s centermost digit performed its own Super Bowl halftime show, inviting obligatory morning-after comparisons to the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" of yore. Lots of people are talking about it. Commenters, too.

Middle finger 'malfunction' mars Super Bowl halftime show

A quote from Devon Soltendieck of Montreal got people riled up.

"Can we all stop pretending #MIA flipping the Finger during the halftime show is offensive in 2012?" he asked. That got people talking.

IdahoJ: "Yeah, it is. Ever gotten the bird from another driver on the highway? Or flip it at someone who cuts ahead in a line? So yeah, we can brush it off, but we don't like it when it's us who are on the receiving end ... Point is, what's the point? All it did was cheapen the act IMO ... If obscene gestures and language is what people want to see, more power to them. Personal choice. Just stand in front of your mirror at in the privacy of your own home, make all the rude gestures and abuse yourself verbally all you want."

Saresudog: "IdahoJ, when people do that to me, I just laugh at them. When you get angry you're just empowering the person. If you have such low self esteem that a simple gesture or word angers you, than you got some real big problems. I don't know how you survive in this cruel world. Funny how we teach children about 'sticks and stones,' but a lot of adults don't seem to understand the concept. One reader said he's heard and probably said worse, but doesn't want that kind of stuff on TV. Others wondered if the whole thing was such a big deal."

Some said they've seen and done worse, but they were still bothered. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Football • Music • Overheard on • Pro football • Showbiz • Sports • Super Bowl • TV
Did record-setting Super Bowl live up to the hype?
Giants quarterback Eli Manning celebrates winning his second Super Bowl against the Patriots.
February 6th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

Did record-setting Super Bowl live up to the hype?

The Super Bowl set a new record for total viewers and simultaneous tweeting, with 12,233 tweets a second during the final three minutes of the game, that saw the Giants score and Tom Brady fail to hit the Hail Mary pass for the win.

The Super Bowl was watched by 111.3 million people, according to Nielsen, topping last year's game to secure the slot at the top for the most watched show in U.S. history.

And when you've got that many people watching and a virtual water cooler like Twitter, you don't have to wait until the next day to play Monday morning quarterback. It's more like the-second-after quarterback.


The total social media traffic for the Super Bowl and the hoopla surrounding it, taking into account Twitter mentions, public Facebook posts, GetGlue check-ins, and Miso check-ins, topped out at more than 17 million interactions, according to social media engagement company Trendrr. (67% of those tweets and posts were positive, a good sign for the league, and NBC.)

See the best tweets from the game

And what drove that? Perhaps a mix of the culture behind the Super Bowl itself, or maybe the clashing of two teams from places that couldn't despise each other more? Maybe it was the rematch of the last Super Bowl that Tom Brady admits he wishes he could forget? Or was it another unbelievable, just-barely-kept-it-inbounds catch by the Giants Mario Manningham to keep Big Blue alive in the waning minutes of the game?


Or, well, maybe it was Madonna.  We knew there'd be jokes about her age, there were the required "I hope she doesn't break a hip" tweets before she went on. And there were some flimsy parts were Madge looked as though she might have to eke out the rest of her performance.

Madonna's halftime: What's the verdict?

But there was also the expected will there be another "wardrobe malfunction?" I don't think there was an expectation that America would be flipped the bird by rapper M.I.A..

Whether you loved Madonna's mash-up heavy performance or absolutely deplored it, viewers said everything you thought about it, again sending Twitter into a frenzy.



Giant NY parade awaits Super Bowl winners
Giants quarterback Eli Manning with the Vince Lombardi trophy after their 21-17 win over the Patriots.
February 6th, 2012
02:34 AM ET

Giant NY parade awaits Super Bowl winners

A ticker tape parade awaits the New York Giants this week when the team returns home as Super Bowl champions after defeating the New England Patriots in a last-minute touchdown.

The Super Bowl victory Sunday night was the fourth for the Giants, which defeated the Pats 17-14 in the 2008 title game.

Pats fans who had hoped their team would avenge the 2008 loss were left crestfallen. But for Giants supporters, the celebration was just beginning.

Early Monday, the Empire State Building was bathed in Giants blue. Later in the day, New York City will conduct a public giveaway for 250 winners for a post-parade ceremony at City Hall Plaza where the team will be given keys to the city.

"After nearly missing the playoffs, the Giants have made history by becoming the first NFL team to win the Super Bowl after going 9-7 in the regular season," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said after the Sunday night win. "I look forward to celebrating this victory with all New Yorkers."

Clutching the championship trophy, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the MVP award winner, said "I just stayed positive" during the seesaw struggle.

Post by:
Filed under: Football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S. • World
M.I.A.'s middle finger punctuates Super Bowl halftime show
Rapper M.I.A. provided a middle finger salute to network cameras Sunday night.
February 6th, 2012
12:49 AM ET

M.I.A.'s middle finger punctuates Super Bowl halftime show

Ahead of her Super Bowl halftime show, singer Madonna promised there would be no "wardrobe malfunction." What she didn't guarantee was no obscene gestures.

Rapper M.I.A. provided a middle finger salute to network cameras Sunday night during the 12-minute extravaganza, when she joined Madonna during a performance of the latter's new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin.'"

The apologies from the NFL and NBC came quickly - they blamed each other.

"There was a failure in NBC's delay system," said Brian McCarty, the league's vice president of communications. "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans."

"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC said. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."

The episode was reminiscent of the 2004 Super Bowl when singer Janet Jackson's nipple was briefly exposed during a performance with singer Justin Timberlake.

The infamous "wardrobe malfunction" episode, as it came to be known, prompted the Federal Communications Commission to fine broadcaster CBS $550,000. In November, a divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the FCC improperly punished the network.

Since then, the NFL has maintained tight control over the show's production.

Fast forward to Sunday and what the NBC dubbed M.I.A's "spontaneous gesture."

As in 2004, the episode occurred when the New England Patriots were playing in the big game.

Post by:
Filed under: Sports • Super Bowl • World
Overheard on What's a 'Hoosier'? In defense of Indy's Super Bowl
Indianapolis, Indiana, finally gets a chance to host an NFL Super Bowl this year.
February 3rd, 2012
07:21 PM ET

Overheard on What's a 'Hoosier'? In defense of Indy's Super Bowl

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Our readers are apparently quite excited about the Super Bowl and its host city Indianapolis, Indiana. We received several passionate comments from residents and fans. There was also plenty of talk about the game itself. Let's delve in.

Super Bowl in Indianapolis? Get ready world

Several commenters wrote posts promoting Indianapolis.

jasges: "I have been to several Super Bowls and this is probably one of the best setups so far. A lot to do here. We are pleasantly surprised!"

Guest: "I have visited Indianapolis several times for Men's NCAA Regionals/Sectionals. It is a very nice city. I would visit there again without hesitation."

Yes, there were a few skeptics.

wilecoyote58: "Indianapolis is a pleasant, if dowdy city. Some nice restaurants and it is compact. BUT – who the hell wants to spend a week in Indiana in February? There is a good reason the student body of every midwestern university heads to warmer climes at Spring Break. But then it is clear that those who attend the Super Bowl are not the brightest and deepest thinkers in our society. It is a football game folks, not the Second Coming."

Some of our readers' posts were directly addressed to the story writer, Thom Patterson, who is from Indiana. Two are included here. (By the way, the author of this blog post is a former resident of Des Moines, Iowa, and can attest to the high quality of the city's botanical dome. Wichita, Kansas, is also quite lovely.) FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Football • Indiana • Overheard on • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S.
Chad Ochocinco looking forward to first Super Bowl
Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco looks forward to being in his first Super Bowl
January 27th, 2012
09:51 PM ET

Chad Ochocinco looking forward to first Super Bowl

It has taken 11 years, but Chad Ochocinco, or Johnson for you old-schoolers, is finally going to the big dance, as he calls it. The only question remaining is will he actually play when his New England Patriots meet the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and wide receiver Wes Welker were the primary ball catchers in the Patriots' offense this season. That trend continued during New England's two playoff wins. In his one and only pre-Super Bowl interview, Ochocinco opens up on how difficult his first season in New England was, whether he feels he deserves a Super Bowl ring and, of course, his passion for tweeting.

Post by:
Filed under: Pro football • Super Bowl
Headhunting: Giants boast of targeting punt returner, raise questions about concussions
Kyle Williams fumbles in the NFC Championship on Sunday. Two Giants say they targeted Williams because of his concussions.
January 25th, 2012
03:28 PM ET

Headhunting: Giants boast of targeting punt returner, raise questions about concussions

Editor's note: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary, "Big Hits, Broken Dreams" debuts Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

It’s a reality of sport, and not just football: If your opponents know you have an injury, they’re going to target it.

If a quarterback’s ribs are fractured, they make sure to put a shoulder right in his numbers. A pitcher in baseball may hurl the horsehide a little differently when a batter has a jacked-up wrist or hip. In hockey, soccer and basketball, a player with a tender elbow or knee can expect opponents to clip her or him on multiple occasions. And we’re not even going to discuss what happens to a boxer with a swollen eye.

But what about a brain injury? Is it different? Especially in the NFL, where concussions have become the cause du jour among those who say the game is too violent, is "headhunting" a player with a history of concussions the same as going after a quarterback’s sore hand?

The New York Giants are making this a prime topic for discussion after two players told the media after their NFC Championship win Sunday that they targeted punt returner Kyle Williams.

The San Francisco 49ers' Williams, of course, provided the biggest headlines in Sunday’s game, first by letting a punt graze his leg, and on a later punt return, by coughing up the football after a hit from linebacker Jacquian Williams.

(For what it's worth, Kyle Williams didn't get his bell rung on the play, an NFL rep said there were no illegal hits on Williams and a San Francisco newspaper flatly stated there was no evidence the Giants were aiming for the 23-year-old's noggin Sunday.)

The G-Men recovered both balls, ultimately resulting in half their points in a 20-17 overtime win. Some zealous tweeters quickly called for Kyle Williams' death.

Jacquian Williams said of Kyle Williams during a locker room interview, “We knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, to take him out of the game.”

It might’ve been written off as a slip of the tongue. Perhaps in the gleeful post-game atmosphere of the locker room, Jacquian Williams did not mean to say the Giants targeted Kyle Williams because of his past concussions.

Well, Devin Thomas put an end to any speculation when he told the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, that Kyle Williams was indeed a target because “he’s had a lot of concussions."

“We were just like, ‘We gotta put a hit on that guy.’ … (Tyler) Sash did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up.”

Late Tuesday, Big Blue did a little backtracking as two of the team's more veteran players (Thomas has been in the league only four years, and Jacquian Williams is a rookie) told a Star-Ledger reporter they did not discuss in team meetings the prospect of targeting Kyle Williams.

“It’s not like we wasn’t trying to hit him,” defensive end Justin Tuck told the newspaper, adding that the team "was definitely trying to get a lot of hats on him" because the 49ers' starting punt returner was hurt, but "as far as trying to knock him out of a football game, no.”

Added linebacker Michael Boley, “In our meeting we didn’t talk about it. ... Concussions is a big deal. That’s something that you don’t teach. We don’t talk about it. Obviously, we don’t want to hurt anybody. We’re a fraternity of brothers all across the league, so we don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”


Post by:
Filed under: California • Football • Health • New York • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S.
December 18th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

Kansas City Chiefs end Green Bay Packers' 19-game winning streak

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium, ending the 2011 Superbowl champions' quest for a perfect season.

The Packers, who were 13-0 this season, were defeated 19-14 by the 5-8 Chiefs.

Despite the loss - the Packers' first in 20 games - Green Bay remains firmly atop the NFC standings. The Chiefs are in last place in the AFC West.

Post by:
Filed under: Football • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl
Gotta Watch: Waiting is the hardest part
Defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan of the Chicago Bears gets carried off the field by defensive lineman Richard Dent #95 and teammate as they celebrate their victory over the New England Patriots in Super bowl XX
October 7th, 2011
11:07 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Waiting is the hardest part

It's a long-standing tradition that championship-winning sports teams get invited to the White House.  The Super Bowl 20-winning Chicago Bears are no exception.  In 1986, the Bears were scheduled to meet President Ronald Reagan at the White House to celebrate their big victory. However, just days after the championship, space shuttle Challenger blew up and their trip got cancelled.  Today, 25 years after their scheduled visit, that Chicago Bears team is finally going to the White House. In honor of this long-awaited and well-deserved honor, we at Gotta Watch put together some videos of people who had to wait a long time to get something.  While waiting may be the hardest part, some rewards are worth waiting for.

A piece of her late father - It's not often that people leave messages for their loved ones in a bottle and toss it in the sea.  It's even less often that a person receives that message five decades later.  Check out the story of a New Hampshire woman who, through a strange turn of events, is reunited with a note from her late father.


Post by:
Filed under: Education • Football • Gotta Watch • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl
Monday's intriguing people
Writer-director Paul Haggis is dishing the goods on Scientology in The New Yorker magazine.
February 7th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Paul Haggis

The award-winning writer-director of “Crash” has given The New Yorker an interview detailing the inner workings of Scientology. A member for 35 years, Haggis broke with the church in 2009 after it refused to condemn Proposition 8, which made marriage an institution between only man and woman in California.

In his letter of resignation to spokesman Tommy Davis, Haggis wrote that he could not align himself with an organization that would back "that hate-filled legislation." He concluded, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.”


Post by:
Filed under: California • Egypt • Gay and lesbian • Google • Human rights • Most Intriguing People • Movies • Pro football • Proposition 8 • Religion • Scientology • Showbiz • Sports • Super Bowl • Technology • Texas
Monday quarterbacking: Super Bowl's hits and fumbles
Groupon's ad generated much controversy.
February 7th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Monday quarterbacking: Super Bowl's hits and fumbles

The Packers might have been the official winners of Super Bowl XLV, but if we're counting Web buzz, there were plenty of other victors Sunday night.

(And some losers, but we'll get to them later.)

"Chrysler 200" scored as the top search in Google on Monday morning due largely to a gritty commercial featuring Eminem and his hit "Lose Yourself."

Against the hard-driving beat of the song, a glistening new Chrysler 200 is seen. The vehicle is meant to replace the Chrysler Sebring midsize car, which was lambasted by critics.

"What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things in life?" a gritty voice asks about Detroit. "Well I'll tell ya, more than most. You see, it's the hottest fires that make the hardest steel. Add hard work and conviction and the know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us.

"That's who we are," the voice says. "That's our story." Cue Em, who himself has been in rehab. In the video, he walks into a theater where gospel singers are giving it a ton of heart. Message: The Motor City's woes are behind it.

Another clever ad, for the Volkswagen Passat, has us fawning over "The Darth Vader Kid," 6-year-old Max Page, who was busy Monday doing the rounds on morning shows. Max has a congenital heart defect, and has a pacemaker, but his physicians say he's able to live a relatively normal life. He said he was "thrilled" to show off his "special move" in the ad.

Speaking of special moves, fans appear to be torn over whether the Black Eyed Peas halftime show was banging or blah. The Peas, joined by Slash and Usher, sang their usual family-friendly hits, but tossed it up a bit and changed the lyrics to "Where Is the Love?" He rapped: "In America we need to get things straight/Obama let's get these kids educated/Create jobs so the country stays stimulated/This is dedicated to all the innovators."

There is far less debate over whether Groupon offended with its ad about getting discounts on products and services. During the ad, actor Timothy Hutton appears to be served a meal at Himalayan Restaurant in Chicago. "The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy," he says, adding, "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry!"

More viewers were probably munching on simpler dishes during the game ... like ... popcorn? Cameron Diaz was caught on camera feeding Yankees star Alex Rodriguez popcorn while they cozied up in a luxury box at Cowboys Stadium. Some people were disturbed, some enough to boo.

Speaking of booing, you all know by now that Christina Aguilera messed up the national anthem. The pop diva has apologized, and here's proof she does know the words. Perhaps forgiveness will come easier after watching these wretched renditions from the past.

Say what you will about Christina, at least she probably had a good seat. That's more than about 400 Super Bowl fans got. They were told they could not take the seats they'd paid for because their section of Cowboys Stadium was still under construction. No doubt those fans upon hearing that news had to dig deep, a theme that resonated during the games faithier moments. Even before kick off there was controversy over rejected ads from, a political novelty t-shirt company that had dueling bobble heads of Jesus and Obama, and the Fixed Point Foundation, a group that promotes Christianity in the public square. As Usher would sing "Oh my God..." or "Oh my gosh..."

Grading every ad: Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials 2011

Post by:
Filed under: Football • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl