Pests Caused The Super Bowl Power Outage?

Waiting for the lights.
Waiting for the lights. (Photo credit: kimubert)

Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans was full of twists and turns as the Baltimore Ravens edged the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 34-31. One of the most memorable twists to the game happened to be when the power to half of Mercedes-Benz Superdome, including the scoreboard, went dark with 13:22 left in the third quarter. The game was literally stopped as the players, announcers, and fans where all left scratching their heads.

After nearly 35 minutes of head scratching, wondering what had happened to the power, the game resumed. The San Francisco 49ers, who were down 28-6 just before the blackout, staged a monumental comeback, only to fall short in the very end.

The game will be one of the most memorable in years, primarily because of the power outage. What went wrong?

Could Superdome Pests Have Caused Power Outage?

While weather related reasons cause the majority of power complications, it is not uncommon for small animals and other pests to disrupt transformers and fuses; causing temporary loss of power. We also know that pests can infest sports arenas, like Cowboy’s Stadium. What pests could have caused the Super Bowl power outage?

"Nice rats, nasty rats"
“Nice rats, nasty rats” (Photo credit: ressaure)


Rodents are notorious for wrecking havoc on power systems. Could a few squirrels have got tangled in the electrical equipment in a Superdome substation? Could a malevolent rat have chewed through a major power cord?

Rodent caused power outages happen more often than you might think. I was on Arizona State University’s campus a year or so back, when the power went out on half the campus. An apparent rat found its way into one of the substations and shorted out the equipment. It can happen!


Could termites be the culprit of the Super Bowl XLVII power outage? Termites may have weakened the structure of the power line poles that were carrying the electricity to the Superdome.

Bees & Wasps

Bees or wasps love to build their hives in well hidden, concealed areas; like that of a circuit breaker box or parts of a substation. If a hive was large enough and the infestation destructive enough, a bee or wasp infestation could have brought the power down at Super Bowl XLVII.

Bird Pests

Bird pests, like pigeons, wreak havoc on the structure of buildings. A well placed nest, or a build-up of droppings, can easily cause a circuit to trip; or spark a short in a power feed to the Superdome.


Since hurricane Katrina, snakes have been an increasing pest problem in New Orleans. Tree snakes, which are non-indigenous to New Orleans, frequently cause power outages by crawling on electrical lines.

Raspberry Ants

Crazy Raspberry Ants, are usually only found in some 20 counties in Texas, but were recently discovered in Port Allen, Louisiana. These destructive and malevolent ants are so small; they can  easily get through the plastic casing around the electrical wiring. Raspberry ants have caused street lights in Houston, Texas to malfunction.

As a kudeta, these pesky ants may have been looking to take out one of the city’s biggest icons, the Superdome, and to announce their arrival to New Orleans.

Other Theories Behind The Power Outage


The 49ers Were Responsible- Previous to the blackout, the Ravens had just gone ahead of the 49ers by a score of 28-6 with a 108 yard kickoff return. Someone in the 49ers organization knew something had to be done and quick. That’s when they pulled the plug. With their malicious goal achieved, the 49ers rallied to cut the deficit, but eventually fell three points short. The same strategy is extremely effective when you pull the plug on the XBOX when you’re getting blown out in Madden.

Super Bowl Heist- Picture Ocean’s 13, but instead of robbing a Vegas casino, Danny Ocean and his team of professional thieves set their eyes on the Super Bowl box office where the average price of a ticket is about $3,000.

Another Harbaugh Brother- Jay Harbaugh, the often forgotten about Harbaugh brother, was tired of John and Jim getting all the attention. In an attempt to steal some of the limelight away from the two Super Bowl coaches, Jay cut the power to the Superdome.

More Commercials For CBS- Forbes reports that the price for a single advertisement during Super Bowl XLVII was over $4 Million. The extra 35 minutes caused by the delay would have generated hundreds of millions of extra dollars.

Beyonce - Concert in Barcelona in 2007

Beyonce Did It- Beyonce forgot to unplug her curling iron before she took the stage for her Super Bowl halftime performance. You know that thing had to have been sucking down a lot of juice; getting her hair to look the way it did.

New Orleans Voodoo- New Orleans is well known for the dark arts like voodoo, and the Superdome is built only a few hundred yards away from a cemetery. There are only so many voodoo commercials you can air before New Orleans will strike back.

Buffalo Wild Wings Got Carried Away- We’ve all seen the Buffalo Wild Wings commercial with the football fans wanting an overtime game. They send the signal into Buffalo Wild Wings, and all sorts of mischief happens. Sprinklers mysteriously turn on, preventing an obvious score. Could someone have sent the signal to BWW during the Super Bowl?

Marketing Campaign by Oreo- A few minutes into the blackout, Oreo sent out a tweet that read, “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet was retweeted over 15,000 times, giving the cookie company even more exposure.

Bane Did It- This has been one of the most frequent conspiracy theories floating around out there. Bane, of The Dark Knight Rises fame, looked to take over Gotham… I mean New Orleans… by interrupting the big game.  Bane has publicly denied any involvement in the Super Bowl blackout.

Statement Issued Regarding Power Outage:

The following statement was issued in regards to the Superdome power outage:

“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.” 

Congrats to the Baltimore Ravens

3 February, 2013 ...item 2b.. Super Bowl 2013 ...

By edging out the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens are your Super Bowl XLVII champions. Congrats on the great season!



Anthony Ball is a Content Marketing Manager with Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. Bulwark is fully operational in nine states, including thirteen major cities. While Bulwark provides pest extermination for common pests like ants, roaches, crickets and spiders; the company's differentiating aspect is great personalized service. Bulwark uses the finest and most effective products in the world to solve common pest problems.

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2 thoughts on “Pests Caused The Super Bowl Power Outage?

  1. Pests can be a real problem for many people in the UK and a great thing to do if you do find them is to call in a professional pest control company. These are really good at getting rid of rid of your pests and are definitely something that I would recommend.

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