CBS Cowed: NFL News Blackout On Superdome Super Bowl Blackout

Twitter filled the CBS void. Forbes.

“Ain’t no room for cowards in journalism at this moment in time.”  NYT‘s ex-sports editor Joe Sexton.

"CBS’ inability to report the news, dig into all angles of the story, is a direct result of how the NFL controls the media. If normal coverage is limited and restricted, it stands to reason that league suits would try to black out all coverage of a Super Bowl blackout."

“CBS’ inability to report the news, dig into all angles of the story, is a direct result of how the NFL controls the media. If normal coverage is limited and restricted, it stands to reason that league suits would try to black out all coverage of a Super Bowl blackout.”

Bob Raissman NYDN: The fans inside the Superdome were not the only ones left in the dark when half the building’s power went out in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII Sunday night. Viewers were left with unanswered questions as CBS Sports’ sideline reporters, and the rest of the cast, failed to go into a reporting mode.

There was no outrage, no questioning how a thing like this could happen on the NFL’s biggest night of the year.

At a time when they should have been aggressively gathering news, CBS’ crew was satisfied with the crumbs the NFL dropped on them. And they swallowed the scraps gladly. Not once during the 34-minute delay did a representative of the National Football League appear on camera to attempt to explain what caused half the Superdome to lose power. Why should they? No one from CBS put any pressure on them.

Instead of having anyone with a microphone express a hint of outrage, they accepted what was going down. “As soon as they know (what knocked the power out) someone (from the NFL) is going to come down and we are going to interview them to ascertain what knocked out the power,” said Solomon Wilcots, one of CBS’ sideline reporters.

No, that ain’t the way it works. The idea is to find an NFL suit, stick a microphone in his/her face and ask the following question: What the hell is going on?

Think about it. CBS pays billions for the right to air NFL games. Much of that dough is shelled out to secure rights to the Super Bowl. So, on the big night, there is a major screwup and the NFL won’t put someone on the air — and CBS won’t push the league — to try to explain what’s going on? That’s mind-boggling.

But not quite as wacked as CBS’ laid-back approach to reporting this story, which will go down as one of the more unusual moments in Super Bowl history. All the players were on the field, waiting, stretching. Why not take a camera and microphone on the sidelines for an interview? If they blow you off, fine — at least viewers would have something worth watching.

Instead of hearing from James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher and Shannon Sharpe (Boomer Esiason was working the radio) that the 49ers would benefit from the delay, why not ask players from both teams their thoughts on the matter?

Sports Illustrated:

A joint statement from Entergy New Orleans, which provides power to the stadium, and Superdome operator SMG shed some light on the chain of events, which apparently started at the spot where Entergy feeds power into the stadium’s lines. The problem occurred shortly after Beyonce put on a halftime show that featured extravagant lighting and video effects.

“A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system,” the statement said. “Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue. … Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”

“It just took a little longer for us to lose,” lamented 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks.

The 34-minute power outage predicted the score:  Ravens 34, 49ers 31.

CBS also was silent when Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco uttered live “This was fucking awesome!”  The Hollywood Reporter.

Related: All 2013 Super Bowl ads.

Monday, February 4, 2013 @ 7:03 AM

  • John Cobb

    See, it’s not a News Org., CBS is an entertainment station, nothing more.

    • Marty Davis

      Raissman is right.  CBS sports reporters should’ve collared an NFL suit.

  • 4lsanday

    CBS got lucky. With the second half starting with a 108 years kickoff return it was looking like a Baltimore blowout. Then the blackout. If SF had not quickly scored 17 unanswered my guess tune out would have been massive.

  • Sentinel

    Use the standard blame fall-back position – Bush did it.

  • Jcoles0069

    I don’t know what an NFL person could have said — the problem in the electrical system wasn’t theirs and all he could have done is blame the electrical service provider … The problem was the recently built ‘smart grid’ system and inept Entergy ‘engineers.’ But the basic point about CBS no longer being a news organization is spot-on … sports reporting is simply news & features reporting using sports words, and basic reporting skills should still apply … but at CBS those skills haven’t applied in a full decade or more … to any kind of news that doesn’t follow the Progressive narrative.
    The Forty-Niners played about seven minutes of good football while the Ravens played at least 52 minutes of pretty darned ball … the blackout helped SF but I think the final result was pre-ordained: SF believed the pre-game hype that pegged them as the winners and then they never really showed up for the game…
    I suspect we need to get used to power outages as more and more of the ‘smart grid’ is implemented. 

    • John Cobb

      Or just let a marching band play at half, rather than Beyonce.

    • 4lsanday

      Would have been more enjoyable