By Julian Linden
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - The power failure that halted Sunday's Super Bowl might have embarrassed the National Football League (NFL) but the players and coaches took it all in stride.
While not uncommon in sports events played at night, the NFL and New Orleans officials were left red-faced and scrambling for answers after the biggest event on the U.S. sporting calendar was stopped for 35 minutes because of a power outage.
Around half the overhead lights in the Superdome stadium went out shortly after the start of the third quarter with the Baltimore Ravens leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6.
During the delay, players stretched and chatted to each other and waited patiently for all the lights to come on.
The 49ers, who had been outplayed to that point, benefited most from the stoppage, scoring 17 consecutive points after the re-start but came up just short, losing 34-31.
"Both teams had to deal with it. I thought they dealt with it better, obviously," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "They were able to turn the momentum of the game."
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who was named Most Valuable Player, threw three touchdown passes before the break but none after the resumption.
"Those things happen and both teams had to deal with it," Flacco said. "We came off and they were facing a third and 14 and we got them stopped and we didn't really do anything with the ball."
San Francisco 49ers tackle Bernard Pollard said his team were glad when the lights went out because they suffered an almost identical experience in a nationally televised game at Candlestick Park last year.
"We had a similar situation in our stadium when we played last year against Pittsburgh on Monday Football," he said.
"That was my first thought. I immediately thought we had a power outage against Pittsburgh last year and we came out on fire. "I was excited."
The stoppage was the latest in a series of embarrassing Super Bowl incidents for the NFL. In 2004, Janet Jackson blamed a "wardrobe malfunction" after revealing part of her breast during the halftime entertainment show.
And two years ago in Dallas, the NFL had to turn away dozens of fans who bought tickets that did not exist.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)