Stadium Goes Dark—Twice—During Monday Night Football Game in San Francisco

Delays become a hiccup for 49ers primetime showing.

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Pittsburgh Steeler players wait on the field in the dark after the stadium lights in Candlestick Park went out in the second quarter during their Monday Night NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco, California December 19, 2011.

Candlestick Park, which originally opened in 1960, couldn’t handle the energy created by a primetime Monday Night Football game, going dark twice during the national telecast.

In the recent past, the lights shutting off during a game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco would serve as a fitting end to the 49ers’ season. But a pair of extended power outages during last night’s Monday Night Football instead served as a reminder of the play of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Niners 20-3 victory. That is, when the teams were actually playing.

The first outage occurred about 25 minutes before the scheduled opening kick of 5:40 p.m. Pacific time. Without any power to run lights or even the public address system, the sellout crowd of 69,732 used cell phones to catch up on the news of the outage and flashbulbs to light up the dark stadium.

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NFL security chief Jeff Miller told the Associated Press he saw a transformer blow outside the stadium right after the lights in the parking lot went out. When the transformer went out, the stadium went dark, except for a lone security light in one corner.

City engineers were able to switch the stadium to backup generators and kickoff started about 20 minutes after originally scheduled.

But that wasn’t it. Early in the second quarter the power died again, forcing the teams into a 15-minute lull. The stadium was able to switch power to a secondary feed and get the lights going again.

With San Francisco locking up the NFC West championship, Candlestick Park will host a playoff game in January. Maybe it better be a day game.

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