Cynics have a field day with Candlestick blackout


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in league circles that the blackout was aimed at assisting the stadium effort by demonstrating that Candlestick Park is outdated and unfit.

86 responses to “Cynics have a field day with Candlestick blackout

  1. No, what caused the power outage was was a wormhole opened near the stadium to another dimension and out popped a strange little man with a bizarre indistinguishable accent.

    For some reason, I’m not sure why but he then vaporized the ESPN on field reporter and took their place.

  2. There’s tripping over a cord, and then there’s blowing up a transformer. That was a pretty elaborate display to suspect it was intentional. I’m sure there are much safer ways to turn off the lights if someone was so inclined.

  3. No conspiracy theories needed. Yes, the infrastructure in California really is that bad. Yes, they need to spend billions in order to bring everything up to where it needs to be. No, they don’t have the money to do that right now. Yet Santa Clara will be jacking up tax rates on its citizens to pay for a new stadium.

    Drive the 101 from the ‘Stick to the new stadium, and you’ll get a taste of Cali’s current infrastructure problems. If you do, it helps to wear a kidney belt.

  4. I loved it – the blackouts made MNF go on so long I got out of watching a Christmas movie with the wife.

    The NFL is the best. I’d rather watch a football game on delay for two teams I don’t like than see that kid shoot himself in the face for the hundredth time.

  5. We all saw the transformer blow up on television. I highly doubt that you’ll see Denise York walking around with singed hair and eyebrows this morning.

  6. Cynics are stupid and pathetic the lights went out the Steeler’s got their a$$ kicked would have happened if the lights didn’t go out.

  7. There’s no question they need a new stadium. They should also fix the San Andreas fault line while they’re at it. One of these days that might interfere with a big sporting event.

  8. I remember when the conspiracy theorists came out in force in Minnesota when the Metrodome roof collapsed last year. Instead of blaming Mother Nature and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission for not fixing the roof the following offseason, many anti-stadium folks accused Zygi Wilf and the NFL of causing the roof to collapse so they could make a stronger case for a new stadium. So I am not at all surprised there are some conspiracy theorists and cynics drawing ridiculous conclusions like this.

  9. And on the first day the Lord was wrothful, for His anointed son fell to Tom Brady, and He said “Let there not be light… at San Fran.”

    -Chris Kluwe

  10. The national spotlight was on San Francisco and the whole night turned into an embarassing spectacle for the NFL.

    2 blackouts?

    Conspiracy theories?

    Ugly game to watch. Horrible….repeat HORRIBLE officiating: botched fumbled punt call, phantom chop block, iffy penalty for jumping to block a FG, missed holding calls by 49er linemen. Candlewick was a house of horrors for the Steelers.

    Another NFL Monday night stinker.

    A rematch in Indy would be much better, and playing with a two-legged Ben will result in a lot more points and a different outcome.

  11. They were trying to give the coeds cover so they could escape from Roethlisberger. That guy is a pig.

  12. Some geeky electrical engineer went home after a 16 hour day yesterday & said:

    “I TOLD THEM 8 MONTHS AGO! Those idiot suits think they can just red-line anything in a budget! They needed to replace ____ and a ____! I predicted that this would happen in November….I was off by 1 month….not even! IDIOTS!”

  13. Wait… did Ben say his ankle was hurting? I watched the whole game and can’t remember them mentioning it once.

  14. This just in……..

    The suits have dismissed the Director of Engineering for his role in the lack of oversight on the power generation project.

  15. brettfavresmidget says: Dec 20, 2011 10:34 AM

    Or maybe God was demonstrating his anger at the NFL for allowing Tebow to lose.

    ….Gee how original. This is getting old. The sheep continue to post

  16. aww, poow wittwe steewer fan bwaming the wefewees. waahhhhhhhhhh! only we should benefit from bad calls!!!!

  17. I was 100-200 feet from the transformer that blew, it was north of the “Verizon Gate” entryway over by the party buses. We thought it was fireworks, green sparks everywhere — it was a legit transformer explosion. 5 seconds after it popped all the lights were off.

    For this to have been an act by the team, it would have had to have been a bomb, but a bomb that doesn’t blow up but overloads electrical circuits. Also, the city owns the park and leases it to the Niners, so since the city has an interest in getting the team to STAY they’d want things to, you know, WORK.

    This is a stupid rumor.

  18. Does this constitute responsible reporting?

    “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.”

    League source > passed along > rumors > sabatoge


    I’m a big fan of PFT and am not hating on you for fun. This doesn’t pass any sort of reporting standard though.

  19. Puts a whole new meaning to candlestick park. Maybe they should have taken th hint and played by candle light. Probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The outcome of the game would have been the same.

  20. does no one else find it ironic that they couldn’t get electricity in a stadium called Candelstick?

  21. ……and the stupidity of even thinking to bus the players, but what about the oh, 70,000 or so fans watching in the stadium, you bus them too? People have too much time on their hands when they dream up this conspiracy crap. World is not that complicated, let it go already.

  22. Ultimately, I don’t think the blackout made a difference in the game. But I have no doubt that if Goodell were going to screw a team to get a stadium deal, he’d screw the Steelers. He’s the most unscrupulous, unprincipled person I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch operate so closely. And as a writer, I once lived with a guerilla army. I’d really love to see him as a contestant on Survivor. Or maybe they could create a new show just for him: Eat Your Young.

  23. Agree with mistersmith22.

    Plus, San Francisco doesn’t need convincing that its stadium is outdated and old. They’ve proposed building a new stadium nearby to keep the team from moving down the buy.

    C’mon, PFT. Lame.

  24. Since when do painkiller injections only last for 20 minutes? A half lasts at least about 1.5 hours in a prime time game. Heck, if he needed a booster shot he could get it between commercial sets. Worst conspiracy theory ever. Certainly Mendenhall believes it was a conspiracy…that guy is plain gullible.

  25. steelerfan999,kluge,dstep,Mike tomlim,steelerownyou…where ya at???!!
    Waiting for you to man up, or at least bring on the excuses as to why you lost, had the steelers won there wouldnt be any, but since they got smashed lets hear ’em.

  26. The ghost of Al Davis was still mad about the Raiders’ loss to Detroit so he decided to turn out the lights on the 49ers.

  27. Transformer blew . . . a transformer that isn’t even the responsibility of the City that runs the stadium. The problem was with Pacific Gas & Electric equipment, the same PG&E who’s ruptured gas line was responsible for destroying half a subdivision 15 miles away in San Bruno in 2010. Other than the spectacle at the time this is a non-story that wasn’t needed to drive home the obvious fact that Candlestick has been outdated for 20 years.

  28. It was defintely James Harrison trying to steal copper from the candlestick substation transformer trying to make up some of his lost wages due to the suspension. Hopefully, when he got electrocuted, he learned how to count, read and use the logic of an average 1st grader.

  29. ” And that invites speculation that someone intentionally tripped over the cord, knocking out the lights in order to eventually knock down Big Ben.”

    Except Big Ben said he said he didn’t take a pain killing injection.

  30. Right, a transformer blows up so you need a whole new stadium? Cant you fix the electrical grid around the stadium for cheaper than building a new one?

  31. This commentary is a joke. The outage had NOTHING to do with the damn stadium (although there is no question it’s too old and needs replacing.)

    This was 100% PG&E’s fault and a complete accident, NOT because “the stadium is old”.

    That’s like blaming your house for being old when a tree falls and knocks out a powerline.

  32. By far the stupidest media stir up i have ever read. The stadium is 50 years old and poorly maintained by the city. This is hardly a conspiracy. You know since every major hurdle for the new stadium has been unanimously cleared. What a waste of 5 monutes this has been

  33. When PFT says “Cynics have a field day with Candlestick blackout,” they are, of course, referring to themselves.

    No bigger cynics around here than the PFT staff.

  34. Well, I work with heavy equipment on a regular basis, and its impossible to keep it together long enough to get anything done it seems.

    The fact that there is so little problems with stadiums should be amazing to most people, but we just assume that it should always be that way.

  35. originalsteelcurtain says:

    A rematch in Indy would be much better, and playing with a two-legged Ben will result in a lot more points and a different outcome.

    Wait, did Patrick Willis play last night? He didin’t?!

  36. I agree with the conspiracy theorists. Before the power outage, I thought Candlestick was a textbook example of modernity on par with the new Cowboys Stadium. Once the lights went out, I saw the light. (no pun intended)

  37. neelydrew says: Dec 20, 2011 11:27 AM

    I’m a big fan of PFT and am not hating on you for fun. This doesn’t pass any sort of reporting standard though.


    You are just NOW noticing the lack of reporting standards?

  38. franknunley57 says: Dec 20, 2011 11:35 AM

    It was the bartender at Buffalo Wild Wings.

    LOL, I just choked on my gum.

  39. I was there last night. I saw a whole slew of Deceptacans surround the transformer and blow it to kingdom come.


  40. The Red Sox used to do this sort of stuff back when the previous ownership group was trying to get a new stadium built. They’d neglect to replace the bulbs in the scoreboard, or have one or two light towers go dark during a game, things like that, to show that Fenway was “outdated.” To their credit, the politicians didn’t buy it.

  41. Out of all the absolutely horrible primetime matchups we’ve had this year….THIS is the one they shut the lights off on?? You’re telling me they couldn’t have turned the lights out on Seattle/St Louis…or San Diego/Jacksonville?!

  42. I’m a bit late to this thread, but… I was sitting in a Buffalo Wild Wings in East TN last night and as the game came on the NFL Network on the bar’s Direct TV feed, we could see the power outage on our screens. The power then completely went out in the whole bar (and all the businesses we could see in the area) for about 15 seconds. No storms or bad weather here. At almost the same few seconds that the power was lost in SF the 2nd time, we also lost power for about 1 full second and then it came back on although Direct TV took about 10 minutes to reload each time. We had no other power issues the whole night.

    I thought something was funny too the first time even with our power going out here too, but after it happened the 2nd time, I dunno wtf happened.

  43. As a Steeler fan, there was no excuse for the loss, we got beat by beating ourselves. All the missed calls or imaginary calls may or may have not resulted in a score but it did bring down all morale for the team. A rematch with two healthy teams would kill all theories and questions about this MNF.

    Take it to the Superbowl – one more time…

  44. 1) San Fran people – if the city builds a new stadium for the niners it means that your taxes will go through the roof in order to pay for it (if they haven’t already).

    With the economy in the pits the way it is now and more and more people out of work every day – more and more people who presently hold season tickets (some of them for generations) will be priced out of the market for them and that means that you’ll be forced to help pay for a stadium where you can’t afford a ticket.

    It’s just the NFL’s way of saying ‘thanks’ to the people who supported the league for the first 50 years or so.

    2) The Pats play in a privately financed stadium.

  45. You guys are giving me thumbs down for saying Goodell is unscrupulous? Seriously? Are you really that naive? Please, please, please tell me you assume I’m complaining about him because of the Steelers and you’re just giving me Steeler hate–that I can understand. But Goodell is all corporate all the time. He has no interest in doing what’s best for your team, your players, or the game of football. He cares about positive the corporate bottom line. Period.

  46. 1historian. You obviously missed the conversation last night they had about the new stadium, in which $850M has already been shored up through private banking. Let San Fran worry about their taxes. The bad economy excuse is getting old. NFL attendance is not down one bit this year compared to last. Unemployment might be high, but still, 85%+ of people still have jobs and most people that go to football games don’t have to worry about it. I highly doubt the 49ers have a problem selling season tickets. They are one of the most popular franchises in the league. Did the stadium look empty to you last night?

  47. @trollhammer20

    So true. That stretch is horrible and show’s California’s problems. This state should be pristine with all the money it makes the rest of the country.

  48. Sine Big Ben pointed out that he didn’t have an “injection”, I think that shoots that theory in the arse.

    As far as the Stadium issue goes, that stadium has existed since 1960. I’m going to miss it when it gets torn down. I hope that they take the grass from it and transfer it to the new stadium. That’s how much that field means to 49er fans. And I hope that George baptizes it by walking out onto the field around the emblem(man never EVER walked on the emblem) and blowing through his Life-Saver.

    As far as playing in the Colleseum if the power couldn’t get fixed? Alex Smith said it best last nite when he said “We didn’t care we would have played in the parking lot if we had to.”

    Go 9ers!!!

  49. @Sparky:

    So you’re saying The Nfl Commissioner is out to screw The Rooney family? The Commissioner works for the owners. Your team lost a game……move on. You also have no clue about Roger Goodell the man. Business is business.

  50. A transformer blew, and the power went out at old Foxboro Stadium during the 1996 AFC Championship game. To avoid that happening at the new stadium, the team ran redundant power lines to two seperate substations. It cost them a lot of extra money, but it’s a good thing right?

    Now, every time the power goes out in Foxboro, the townspeople bitch and moan that the Krafts are getting preferential treatment because the stadium has power and they don’t.

    Small town politics are laughable sometimes.

  51. While the lights were out, Bathroom Ben was seen trolling the ladies bathroom with a beer vendor in tow

  52. “You guys are giving me thumbs down for saying Goodell is unscrupulous? ”

    nope – I think you’re getting the thumbsdown because you just make sh t up. Now you’re a writer that has worked with Goodell? When Ben was in his legal mess you said you worked for attorneys.

  53. @franknunley57 …

    Baby, we have got to get you a remedial reading course. How many times do I have to tell you we lost that game because your team outplayed us? Are you just getting off on my repetition?

    No, Sparky … that part about him screwing the Steelers was facetious. But he is an unprincipled, unscrupulous man who would screw both our teams and every other team and player to improve the bottom line, make a stadium deal, get the government off the NFL’s back, or serve the corporate entity that is the NFL. He could care less about the GAME or its players.

  54. @peytonwantsaflag …

    You need a course in fundamental reading comprehension … you know Dick and Jane stuff. Where in that post did I say I’ve worked with Goodell? I’m here in NFL fandom, watching him operate just like the rest of you. Please don’t make me responsible for your illiteracy. I’ve been on here for years and it’s not the first time I’ve posted that I write for a living. 🙄

  55. @peytonwantsaflag …

    Oh, and I never said I worked for attorneys. I said my brother and sister-in-law are criminal defense attorneys and I’ve written on legal issues–among other topics–for years.

    Your fascination with me is flattering, but your distortions are not.

  56. bluvayner says: Dec 20, 2011 10:46 AM

    We all saw the transformer blow up on television. I highly doubt that you’ll see Denise York walking around with singed hair and eyebrows this morning.

    But I AM picturing in my mind right now and it’s pretty damn funny. Thanks!

  57. @peytonwantsaflag:

    Deb said before that she wrote for Soldier of Fortune Magazine! Deb, shouldn’t you be out occupying Allegheny ??

  58. originalsteelcurtain says:
    Dec 20, 2011 10:52 AM

    Ugly game to watch. Horrible….repeat HORRIBLE officiating:

    classic – a steeler fan complaining about the refs…the refs let your o-line hold on every play, and have put more rings on the steeler fingers than any other team in the history of the nfl.

  59. They have replaced stadiums newer than Candlestick and stadiums in better shape than Candlestick. No needs to blow up a transformer to highlight that Candlestick is old.

    Besides if it was just the transformer, it wouldn’t cost as much to fix that as it will to move.

  60. @1historian

    Do so homework.

    The stadium is NOT attached to taxes to people in SF or in SC where the stadium will actually be built. It will not even touch the general fund in SC. It will be financed with TICKETS, naming rights, and several other revenue sources.

    This has been covered SEVERAL times. If there are overruns, the 49ers are on the hook to cover them.

    What are you talking about?

  61. theysone says:

    Deb: it’s ” couldn’t care less” not “could care less.”. As a a writer, you should know this.

    LOL … good catch. That’s why we have copy editors and proof readers before we go to print.

    @Sparky …

    See Spot. See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.

    Bet you’ll misinterpret that, too.

  62. rc33 says:
    Dec 20, 2011 10:46 AM
    Not good to experience a blackout while a two-time sexual assault defendant is loose in the stadium.

    I was thinking the same thing!

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