TELANDER: Jim Harbaugh prime suspect in Super Bowl blackout
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org February 9, 2013 1:00AM
The blackout during the third quarter of the Super Bowl last Sunday nearly cost the Ravens the NFL championship. | Al Bello~Getty Images
Updated: March 11, 2013 6:38AM
The recent Super Bowl in New Orleans forever will be known as the ‘‘Blackout Game.’’
Sitting in the Superdome last Sunday, one eyeball on the field, the other on my laptop screen, I instinctively lifted my feet when the bank of lights on my half of the field abruptly darkened early in the third quarter.
‘‘Dummy, you did it again!’’ I thought.
But this was a tad larger than a scribe and his power cord. The cause had something to do with an electrical surge and the failure of a relay thingamajig in a little structure called ‘‘the vault’’ that had been installed precisely to avoid such power outages. Techno stuff. Apparent idiocy.
A more thorough investigation is pending — cybercrime and terrorism have been ruled out — but my sleuth finger is pointed directly at 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
Think about it. Little Jimmy almost froze his big brother, John, whose Ravens were ahead 28-6 and rolling. Thirty-four minutes of doing nothing. Why, Ray Lewis nearly petrified. (Note: It’s really pleasant to be in a big stadium when the announcer and all the canned music has been silenced.)
Sure enough, the game turned into a thriller. And wouldn’t Jim Harbaugh do anything to win?
It was either that or Beyonce’s leather corset blew up from internal combustion.
† WHICH BRINGS ME to my major point: temperature.
Super Bowl XLVIII next season will be held at roofless MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. This is just across from New York, where the partying will occur. Football folks will be going back and forth over bridges and through tunnels, and the possibility of some Super Bowl-related frozen mayhem seems very high.
‘‘Football was made to be played in the elements,’’ commissioner Roger Goodell sniffs.
Well, nitrogen is an element, too, and it freezes at minus-346 degrees. There never has been a cold-weather, open-air Super Bowl.
You know what I’m saying. Check the weather in New York right now. What if a blizzard hits on game day? The ‘‘Blackout Game’’ will seem like nothing.
† LANCE ARMSTRONG has a little less than two weeks to cooperate with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and help ‘‘clean up the sport of cycling’’ in exchange for possibly lessening his lifetime ban from sanctioned sports.
Trust me, Armstrong is going to do it. After lying, denying and casting hate at anyone who said he doped, he’s going to sing like a meadowlark. And it won’t be just an Oprah-style confession tinged with psychobabble and hugs.
Why? Because we already know he has no ethics. All he wants to do is race again. And telling on anybody — friends, lawyers, owners, managers — will be easy for him. Embarrassing, yes, but he already has been caught and convicted.
The truth might set him free to pedal in eight years. Maybe a little less if USADA likes the folks and techniques he rats out.
† THE U.S. MEN’S SOCCER TEAM lost a World Cup qualifying match last week to impoverished Honduras 2-1.
How is this possible? We have more than 300 million people; Honduras has 8 million. We have a gross national product of more than $15 trillion; Honduras has
a coffee-dominated GNP of
$29.8 billion. We have more soccer moms than Honduras has soccer balls.
It’s possible the United States won’t make it out of its qualifying group, which also includes countries such as Panama, Jamaica and Costa Rica. Would that mean — finally, absolutely — we don’t really care about hands-free games?
† IF IT SEEMS there is nothing much happening in the sports world right now, it’s because there isn’t. How do we know this? Because the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue comes out Wednesday.
The issue comes out when many Americans are frozen and miserable, spring training hasn’t begun, football is over, March Madness is weeks away and competition for eyeballs is about zero.
And this year, if there were any competition, it should be blown away by — and I’ll write this the way SI does in the recent mag: ‘‘THE BIGGEST EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 3-D IS COMING TO SI.COM LIVE FROM CAESARS PALACE IN LAS VEGAS.’’
My first thought: Is there a Caesars Palace somewhere else? My next thought: Ali vs Frazier, Jordan wins his sixth crown, Tiger wins the Masters — those weren’t pretty big?