Did WHYY’s Tom MacDonald cause the Super Bowl blackout?

    As the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers sat in their locker rooms contemplating what the second half of Super Bowl XLVII would hold, Beyonce took the stage at the Superdome in New Orleans.

    When that halftime show ended, Jacoby Jones returned the kickoff 109 yards, extending the Ravens’ lead to 28-6.

    And then, less than two game minutes later, darkness.

    As mystery still swirls about what caused a Super Bowl Blackout that has entered American sporting lore, WHYY’s Tom MacDonald can offer a bit of insight. He was at the Superdome on Sunday doing broadcast remotes for his technical firm.

    To hear MacDonald tell it, he was just getting back into the building after Beyonce’s halftime show when he plugged in an extension cord outside the Niners locker room and flipped the switch on the equipment.

    “And the room goes dark,” he said.

    By “room” he means half of an arena holding more than 71,000 people, with the eyes of an international audience fixed upon it.

    We’re talking a split second here, folks.

    That kind of peculiar timing might lead some conspiracy theorists to believe that our man MacDonald single-handedly brought America’s grandest sporting spectacle to an unexpected halt (and, some might say, enabled San Francisco to regroup and claw their way back into a game that felt like a blowout in the making).

    What say you, MacDonald?

    “The thing that tells me that it wasn’t me, because everybody was looking at everybody else,” he maintained, “was that the power I was plugged into was still up even though the light was off.”

    Translation: Don’t come looking for him, impatient football fans. MacDonald is not the electrical villain you’re looking for.

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