GREEN BAY – Having seen firsthand the effect a power outage can have on the momentum of a football game, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t the least bit surprised when Super Bowl XLVII turned on the blackout that hit the Superdome Sunday night.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback was at the game as a fan and watched the 34-minute delay change the game. The Baltimore Ravens had just taken a 28-6 third-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers after Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff of the second half, only to watch most of that 22-point lead evaporate after the blackout before holding on to win, 34-31.
During Rodgers’ first season at the University of California, his Golden Bears had a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead at Oregon before a 23-minute delay for a power outage at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks rallied for a 21-17 victory, as Rodgers’ late interception ended a comeback attempt.
Rodgers said the Super Bowl is already challenging because the halftime show extends the halftime from 12 minutes to roughly double, and then the teams essentially had an extra halftime because of the outage.
“I was asked (by someone he was sitting with), ‘Hey, who do you think this delay is going to help?’ And I said, ‘San Francisco, for sure,’” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com on Tuesday.
Rodgers recalled a blackout hitting his hometown of Chico, Calif., before a high-school game, then recalled the game at Oregon.
“It was a night game, it was super loud, we were ahead by seven at that point. I think we had just started the fourth quarter,” Rodgers said. “And the stadium lights went out – which Cal fans and players at that time still have conspiracy theories about it. We had all the momentum at the time. When they turned the lights back on, Oregon came out in a furious rally and beat us late in the fourth quarter. So I can tell you from experience that it did shift some momentum for Oregon that day, and they got all the momentum once the lights turned back on and the crowd was into it.
“You saw San Francisco, although they had a third-and-13 coming out of the blackout and didn’t get it, they got the ball back and scored, created a turnover and scored and the next thing you know it’s a one possession game and went right down to the end.”
Rodgers said the Ravens needed to move the ball on the ensuing possession to keep the momentum from shifting away from them, and they failed to do so. From there, it was game on.
“You can feel it on the field. You can feel that when the crowd starts to get back in it, you can feel when the intensity level starts to pick up, the urgency level – especially from the defense. I was thinking to myself up in the stands and talking to my little brother (Jordan) – I was sitting next to him, he went out with me for the events – I said, ‘The biggest thing you can do to halt some of that momentum is get a first down on that next possession.’ And that’s something that Baltimore wasn’t able to do.
“Because if you get that first, first down after a momentum swing you kind of cool a little bit of that momentum. You don’t take it all away, but you can change field position a little bit and just kind of stem that first tide, that rush of emotion and energy that a team can get after climbing closer back into a game and Baltimore wasn’t able to do that and that’s why San Francisco got back into the game.”
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