SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Candlestick Park went dark twice in the San Francisco 49ers' much-anticipated return to prime time.
Two power outages delayed the Niners' 20-3 Monday night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, first just before kickoff and again early in the second quarter after the stadium moved to a backup power source.
NFL security chief Jeff Miller said he witnessed a transformer blow up while he was monitoring a gate outside the stadium, where a shooting during the preseason already put a negative light on this venue.
The first outage pushed back the opening kickoff by 20 minutes. Thousands of flashbulbs went off in the midst of the blackness, with a sellout crowd of 69,732 sitting in darkness — including all those Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans who travel the country with their team.
The second delay came early in the second quarter and halted the game again between the playoff-bound teams for about 15 minutes. Miller and other NFL officials gathered in the press box to assess the situation, remaining in constant contact with the commissioner's office.
Miller said he remained confident the game could be finished even using an alternative power source because the problem appeared to be outside the stadium.
"They told us that we were on the second feed, so if that feed would have been somehow interrupted then we probably wouldn't have been able to get the lights back," Miller told The Associated Press.
"That's why we're operating in (the stadium) now. That's why we're playing, because we think that we'll be able to continue. We hope to be able to continue. There's probably a problem outside the stadium."