NEW ORLEANS, La. — With their sight greatly impaired, the cool, collected voice of Alan Roach was one of the only things left to keep fans at Super Bowl XLVII cool while the powers that were worked to fix a blackout that lasted over 30 minutes.
That’s right. The familiar voice of the former Colorado Rockies PA announcer was the same one that boomed over the loud speaker as the lights went out in New Orleans.
What was going through his mind while he sat in the dark?
“The same thing that went through everybody’s mind, I’m sure,” Roach said. “Uh oh. This is going to be an issue.”
While it may have seemed dramatic watching it from the comfort of a well-lit home, Roach downplayed the severity of the Super Dome malfunction.
“The lights were on all the time,” Roach said, speaking about the backup generators that kept the dome illuminated. “There are contingency plans for contingency plans for contingency plans to make sure of that.”
That said, Roach went on to say the darkness in more intimate areas like the bathrooms and concessions stands was more absolute. That there were no reported incidents despite that fact was a testament to Roach’s audience, he said.
“You think of New Orleans and the craziness and the Super Bowl and all these people in the Super Dome,” Roach said. “You think of what could have happened. Thankfully, none of it did.”
So what was the reason for the power outage? Many have suggested the technologically-advanced halftime show had a lot to do with it. Roach had an idea of what prolonged it: technology dependency.
Specifically, Roach said, a reliance on the communication technology that was knocked out by the outage proved to be a major road block.
“When the power went out, it affected some kind of booster for cell phones, the com lines weren’t working,” Roach said. “It took about 90 seconds for someone from NFL control to get down to my booth with a walkie talkie and (start communicating with support personnel) the old fashioned way.”