SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Ben Roethlisberger threw a few extra passes in near darkness after the lights went out at Candlestick Park.
The additional throws were all for naught. Big Ben never found his groove playing on a bum ankle—and the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense wasn’t about to let the most unique of home-field advantages get away in a 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
“Just wondering how this happens at a professional stadium,” Roethlisberger said of not one but two blackouts.
Monday Night Football nearly became a Monday Night Fiasco.
San Francisco’s lights-out return to prime time helped salvage what could have been an embarrassing evening for everyone involved on the NFL’s biggest stage after a pair of power outages delayed the game for close to 35 minutes in all.
“I just feel like San Francisco took a big step to show the NFL and to show the state of California that they need a new stadium,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. “I think it was a very strategic move, and Candlestick may be no more.”
Good thing there’s a state-of-the-art $1 billion stadium in the works.
“Electric atmosphere tonight,” tweeted team president Jed York—unclear if his pun was intended.
NFL security chief Jeff Miller said he witnessed a transformer blow up while he was monitoring a gate outside the stadium, where a shooting during the preseason already put a negative light on this venue.
The first outage pushed back the opening kickoff by 20 minutes. Thousands of flashbulbs went off in the midst of the blackness, with a sellout crowd of 69,732 sitting in darkness—including all those Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans who travel the country with their team.
The second delay came early in the second quarter and halted the game again between the playoff-bound teams for about 15 minutes. Miller and other NFL officials gathered in the press box to assess the situation, remaining in constant contact with the commissioner’s office.
Miller said he remained confident the game could be finished even using an alternative power source because the problem appeared to be outside the stadium.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said city workers worked with PG&E officials to restore power to the stadium and he has called for an investigation “to prevent incidents such as this from happening again.”