– The 47th
Super Bowl had everything—a nail-biting
finish, memorable commercials, fleeting expletives, possibly the largest-ever
audience, and a pyrotechnic half-time show that blew fuses. (As it turns out, the final numbers made it the No. 3 largest broadcast of all time, behind the 2011 and 2010 Super Bowl telecasts.)
“During the blackout
period we lost about half of our cameras,” said Ken Aagaard, executive vice
president of operations, engineering, and production services for CBS Sports.
“They all came back when the lights were back.”
The Super Bowl is always a showcase of the latest professional live production
and broadcast technology. Last night’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and
the Baltimore Ravens was no different. CBS employed as many as 70 cameras to
cover the game, including six 4K units used to capture close-up shots for
artifact-free replays. Referred to as “Heyeper Zooms,” the cameras had their
own dedicated mobile unit from NEP.
Aagaard said nothing shorted out when, a few minutes into the second half, the
power went out at the New Orleans Superdome.
“Most of our equipment was on generators and never affected,” he said.
The cause of the blackout, which persisted for 34 minutes, is still being
determined, according to current reports. CBS
said “officials revealed that an ‘abnormality’ in the power system
triggered an automatic shutdown, forcing backup systems to kick in,” but what
caused the “abnormality” remains unknown. USA
said Beyoncé’s half-time show was not the culprit.
After the flaming performance by Beyoncé and an army of female dancers and
backup singers, the teams returned to what had been a blow-out—the 49ers were
down 6-21 to the Ravens. The temporary outage seemed to reinvigorate ’9ers
quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who led the team to score 25 more points in the
second half. A final effort to reach the end zone failed and left the Ravens
victorious at 34-31.
The drama—compounded by the teams being coached by brothers John and Jim
Harbaugh—unfolded en masse across social media. Twitter counted 24.1 million
tweets during the game, smashing last year’s Twitter traffic, according to Omit
Ashtari, Twitter’s head of Sports and Entertainment. Beyonce’s performance
generated some 268,000 tweets per minutes, The power outage itself got 231,500
tweets per minute. It was one of most trafficked events on social media, and
most-watched on TV.
CBS News on Monday morning tweeted that Sunday night’s game was the “highest-rated
Super Bowl in history—an average overnight household rating/share of 48.1.71.” Nielsen later issued a course correction on that early-number assumption: 108.4 million people watched. Last year, 111.3 million watched. The year before, 111 million.
Another notable but not first-time event during Super Bowl XLVII: An F-bomb during the post-game,
on-field celebration. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco appeared to say, ‘This is f—-ing awesome.’” The
Parents Television Council responded by asking Federal Communications
Commission to investigate CBS for letting the curse word slip through. The
comment came before post-game coverage went to tape delay, according to John
Eggerton of B&C
Tape-delays were employed during more live performances after the infamous 2004
Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction exposing Janet Jackson’s breast. The PTC also
protested after that incident. CBS subsequently was fined $550,000 by the FCC.
The network fought the censure all the way to the Supreme Court, which refused
to reinstate it after a federal appeals court vacated it. PTC last year
Super Bowl XLVI half-time show in which performer M.I.A. visibly
flipped a bird.
This year, PTC also took issue with a pre-Super Bowl teaser featuring model
Kate Upton distracting some guys washing a Mercedes
. The real stinker during the game was an ad from GoDaddy.com featuring
super model Bar Refaeli kissing a stereotypical geek lad in an extended
close-up complete with audio. The ad was at the bottom of the USA
Today’s Ad Meter
, which employed
7,619 pre-registered panelists to rate the commercials. Budweiser’s
horse-and-trainer spot was the favorite, with the Tide “Miracle Stain” coming
in second, and Dodge Ram’s ode to farmers, third.
Advertisers, who paid a reported average of $4 million per 30-second spot on TV, took advantage of the social media traffic during the
blackout. Oreos brought on, “You can still dunk in the dark,” while Tide
posted, “We can’t get your blackout, but we can get your stains out.”
~ Deborah D. McAdams
(Darkened Superdome image is a twitpic
by NBC’s David Gregory