We all remember this year’s Super Bowl fondly, thanks in large part to the Harbowl aspect of it. But we were confronted with an awkward situation after halftime when half the power went out in the Superdome and the NFL’s biggest game was stopped for more than a half hour as someone tried to turn the lights back on.
CBS had the duty of hosting the Super Bowl coverage on television, and when the blackout occurred it knocked out power in the press box, meaning veteran play-by-play voice Jim Nantz was silenced. But while he was off the air for a half hour, Nantz wanted to get back on and almost jumped out of the press box to cover one of the biggest sports events of the year.
“That’s what I’m trained to do: I’m trained to cover events on the fly. Whether it’s news or sports, I’m ready to do it,” Nantz said, via Sports Business Journal. “I told Lance, ‘Look, I can jump over the front of the desk here. It’s not a far drop into the seats in front of me. I can hang onto the ledge and drop down 10 feet or so and I can safely then run down through the stairs and go down two or three levels and get onto the field.’”
NFL on CBS producer Lance Barrow admired Nantz’s will to help out, but ordered him to stay in the booth, as once the power came back on the network needed to have Nantz in his usual spot.
“I look back on it now and I just wish I could have helped out,” Nantz said. “There was nothing I could do.”
The Super Bowl blackout is still one of the biggest sports stories of the year. But while we’re almost three months past the embarrassing event, it’s still far from being an old story and Nantz’s perspective just helps shed even more light on what it was like to be a part of one of the most bizarre incidents in professional sports.