As big as Monday's victory was for the 49ers, one of the big topics of discussion before, during and after the game was the pair of power outages that led to a total of one hour in delays. A transformer appeared to blow out approximately 11 minutes before kickoff, shutting down the power in Candlestick Park. After a 20-30 minute delay, the game got going at just before 6:00pm PT. The power went out a second time in the second quarter, but was quickly restored after a ten or fifteen minute delay. You can view the first power outage below.
A day later the 49ers, reported that the city of San Francisco and PG&E were still working to figure out what led to the transformer problem. The NFL will also remain interesting in how this all plays out and will be looking for assurances that the problem will not happen again.
Thankfully the game was played to completion. During the game, ESPN indicated that NFL officials were looking to do whatever was needed to get the game in Monday night, but if there had been a need to suspend the game, it would have been picked up Tuesday at the O.Co Coliseum in Oakland. Thankfully that was not an issue and the game wrapped up.
One of the questions moving forward is how this impacts the 49ers opportunity for home prime time games. The earliest the 49ers will move into their new Santa Clara stadium is 2014, with many thinking 2015 is a more realistic kickoff date.
The first time this is an issue is in January during the playoffs. One game in the wildcard round and one game in the divisional round are at 5:00pm PT. During the conference championship round, one of the games last year kicked off at 3:30pm PT, which would likely require lights by the end of the game. It is not a particularly big deal to move the 49ers into one of the day slots, but it is something the league might consider.
The bigger issue would be heading into the 2012 season. Coming off a strong 2011 season, the 49ers are a major candidate for prime time games. The 49ers updated their 2012 season tickets page with the list of opponents and it looks like the team will draw the Lions at home. That would seem to be a strong candidate for a prime time game. Other than that, the 49ers most significant games appear to be on the road (Packers, Patriots, Jets, Saints), so really it might not be a significant issue in 2012.
Beyond that, will the 49ers home prime time opportunities be impacted by this power issue? I'd like to think the city will be able to give the team and the NFL assurances it won't be an issue again, but who knows what the chances are of this kind of thing happening again.