So with the lights going out — twice — last night at Candlestick Park, some folks who scratch deeper than the surface are wondering what was really happening.
The folks at ESPN did a nice job of immediately focusing on the impact of the delay on Ben Roethlisberger’s injured ankle, given that any painkilling injections would wear off at some point after the needle exited the skin. And that invites speculation that someone intentionally tripped over the cord, knocking out the lights in order to eventually knock down Big Ben.
Then there’s the fact that the 49ers are in the process of building a new stadium in Santa Clara, with folks in San Fran not thrilled about that possibility. So what better way to get them on board with the move than to demonstrate in a nationally-televised night game that the current stadium is no longer ready for prime time?
The cynicism also applies to efforts to find a way for the 49ers and Raiders to coexist in a shared stadium. Per a league source, the Raiders promptly offered during the first blackout to make the Black Hole immediately available for the Steelers-49ers game, if it was deemed that power could not be restored. Though many logistical issues would have been presented by a decision to load the players for both teams into buses and ship them across the Bay (not to mention the TV cameras), the gesture shows that the Raiders are good neighbors — a mindset that possibly will spill over to their respective fan bases at some point before the first annual figure skating championships in Hell.
UPDATE 10:53 a.m. ET: A league source just passed along to PFT that there are indeed rumors in league circles that the blackout was aimed at assisting the stadium effort by demonstrating that Candlestick Park is outdated and unfit.