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Ravens Overcome Blackout, 49ers; Blackout a Black Eye for New Orleans?; The "Blind Side" at the Super Bowl; Super Bowl Ads Made Impact; Beyonce Rocks Super Bowl Halftime Show; At least 8 Dead in California Bus Crash

Aired February 4, 2013 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for STARTING POINT. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.


Happening now in the NEWSROOM, blackout, a 34-minute power outage everyone is talking about this morning. Straight ahead, why it happened, what the energy company is saying, and did Beyonce's halftime show have anything to do with it?

Can you believe it? Baltimore bashed the charmed this city this morning fighting back in glowing purple. The city planning a huge parade to celebrate the Ravens.

Clydesdales to Calvins, tied to Taco Bell, jeep to that Volkswagen ad that everyone is buzzing over. The "USA Today" ad meter folks are here to tell us the 30-second spots you liked best.

NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello in Washington. One thing for sure, we will not stop talking about Super Bowl XLVII for a very long time, along with its electric halftime show and its electric free nightmare.

The blackout early in the third quarter, plunging the Superdome into darkness. The NFL title game grinding to a halt for about 34 agonizing minutes. The loss of power frustrating players and coaches forced to stay on the field. But it proved to be a huge turning point in the game.

There was also the social media flutter that followed the much hyped commercials and Beyonce's halftime spectacular and her outfit that turned quite a few heads.

We have reporters from Hollywood to New Orleans to New York covering all that is Super Bowl this morning. But we start with the most memorable moment, an image the NFL and New Orleans want to forget, the power outage that stopped the Super Bowl.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLO (voice-over): The third quarter off to a roaring start. Baltimore returned the kickoff with a 108-yard Jacoby Jones touchdown. That puts the Ravens ahead 28-6. San Francisco was on the ropes, and then the lights went out. Really? Look at Ravens' coach John Harbaugh pointing to the darkened section of the Superdome. The 71,000 fans inside and the millions of TV viewers wondering what the heck just happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't know what to think. This is crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't want to stay in my seat. I wanted to get close to the door just in case I needed to run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn't sure if there's a rat that ate the wire or somebody pulled the chip out of the computer.

COSTELLO: The power outage did anger Ravens coach John Harbaugh, but later he admitted.

JOHN HARBAUGH, BALTIMORE RAVENS HEAD COACH: I made too big a deal about that. It was -- had to do with the phones and you know whether we were going to have communications, if we had to make communications away.

COSTELLO: And finally more than 33 minutes after the lights went out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Third down to 13. Let's go.

COSTELLO: The Ravens held on and won. And quarterback Joe Flacco, he took it in stride.

JOE FLACCO, RAVENS QUARTERBACK: It's just one of those things that happens. You have to deal with it.

COSTELLO: The Superdome said the outage happened when a piece of equipment that's designed to monitor electrical low sensed an abnormality in the system. It evidently put the breaker and poof. The Superdome apologized for the incident so will this be a bruise to New Orleans' image?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This will be a blip. Everybody has been wonderful, kind, happy, and polite. Everybody's been great here.


COSTELLO: So did the blackout put a black eye on the big easy? Did New Orleans lose a chance to host another Super Bowl? Sunday marked the city's tenth time hosting the big game, but it was the first time since Hurricane Katrina, and New Orleans wanted to put on a good show to be a Super Bowl host again and again. The city saw hundreds of thousands of tourists come to the city because of this game.

CNN's Rachel Nichols joins us now.

So, Rachel, you were at that game. Black eye for New Orleans? RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN AND TURNER SPORTS: Well, it's interesting you talk about the breaker. It's kind of like what happens in your basement, when you've got to go flip up the breaker and put it back in. That's exactly what they had to do here. That abnormality you referred to is about the power feed that comes into the stadium. It registered an abnormality in the amount of power coming in here, flipped open the breaker as sort of an auto shutoff to compensate. And officials had to go in and just re-flick it back and get all the lights around the stadium up.

You showed John Harbaugh, the Ravens coach, looking so heated. Here's the inside scoop on why a Ravens official told me that it wasn't about the power being off and getting the game started. It was when they wanted to restart the game. On the 49ers sideline, their headset, their coaches' headsets weren't working. So the officials asked the Ravens to turn their headsets off as well to make it a fair advantage.

Well, the Ravens have a coach up in the box. The 49ers coaches were down on the field. So John said, hey, I'm not going to turn off our headsets if our coaches aren't here. So he was asking the NFL to stop the game even longer, get his coaches down, have them stop it again. It was a real back and forth. He basically said his players wouldn't play while the NFL was trying to get them to start.

Instead, the power came back on and the headsets disaster was averted. But we could have had a delay for another half hour there. It was really quite a scene. And I talked to John about -- after that -- about that after the game.


HARBAUGH: It didn't even matter in the end because they did such a great job of getting the headsets up and running. And I was talking about possibilities. And I shouldn't -- shouldn't have overreact the way I did. I felt bad about it.

NICHOLS: But it was something more to manage?

HARBAUGH: Yes. It was one thing more to manage. I thought, you know, really the 49ers did a better job with that. You know, they came back after that and did a great job.


NICHOLS: And, Carol, this is the first time this has happened in a Super bowl, but it's not the first time it's happened in a major event. In fact, the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999, there was a game that was delayed 25 minutes because of a power outage. In fact they have power problems also in the 1988 Stanley Cup, '98 Stanley Cups Finals. But I will tell you that last year in San Francisco in a Monday night football game, they had two power outages in a game against Pittsburgh.

San Francisco came back out of those power outages and played like gang busters. Players said they felt right at home last night. They just went -- went rip roaring again. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out for them.

COSTELLO: But let's be honest. Had the Baltimore Ravens lost that game, John Harbaugh wouldn't be so generous in spirit this morning.

NICHOLS: No question. And I think there's going to be more people, now that the game is over, sort of looking at how this happens and why this happened. Whether they need to take this into account when they award New Orleans another Super Bowl.

You know, we've been talking about the fact that New Orleans wants to get back into this game. It's been 11 years since they've had this event. They consider themselves a super bowl city. And they were going for the Superbowl in 2018. It coincides with the 300th anniversary of this city.

Well, there's going to be a lot of questions about whether they can handle that. We'll see over the coming days how that all sorts out. The mayor has already issued a statement and said, he's looking into the issue.


COSTELLO: I bet he is. Rachel Nichols live in New Orleans for us this morning. Thank you.

Celebrating after the game was Baltimore's Michael Oher and his mom. Both gained fame, thanks, of course, to "The Blind Side."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the middle of a practice, Leigh Anne.

SANDRA BULLOCK, ACTRESS, "THE BLIND SIDE": You can thank me later.

This team is your family, Michael. You have to protect them. Tony here is the quarterback. You protect his blind side. When you look at him, you think of me.


BULLOCK: You're so going to want to get this.



COSTELLO: You've seen the movie, "The Blind Side." It's the story of Ravens' offensive tackle Michael Oher and his relationship with his adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy played by Sandra Bullock. The real Leigh Anne Tuohy was at the Super Bowl. She actually posted this picture on Instagram of she and Michael after the game. Look at that. They were clearly enjoying the Ravens' victory.

Everyone is talking about some of the head-turning ads from last night. Some were emotional, some were funny, but probably the most controversial was a gun control ad targeting the NRA. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NRA once supported background checks.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show, no loopholes anywhere for anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America can do this for us. Please.


COSTELLO: Jason Carroll is following the story of the ads this morning.

Good morning, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Carol. You know, the ad that you just saw right there was the gun control ad called "It's Time." And a lot of people, Carol, didn't actually get a chance to see it unless they saw it online, and that's because it only aired in the Washington, D.C. market. The ad was actually bought by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, was the one behind that particular ad that you saw right there.

Ad in fact, he's put his money behind the group, and as you saw it, it features children and the NRA's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. That video that you saw in there in the ad is actually from him testifying in 1999 where he says he supports background checks. But you remember last week during that CNN town hall on gun control, the NRA made it very clear the group's leaders do not support universal background checks.

So that ad was created to put pressure on lawmakers and to try to fall in step with the overwhelming majority of Americans, which polling shows seems to support these background checks on gun purchases. When it comes to these ads, nothing is off limits.


COSTELLO: That would seems so. We saw a lot of interesting ad during the Super Bowl. Maybe the most heart-warning -- let's talking about that kind of ad now. Heartwarming ad.


COSTELLO: Has to go to Budweiser, right?

CARROLL: Did you see it? I mean -- I mean, I watched it, how can you not have a dry eye when you watch this. This is the Budweiser ad featuring the foul. It was a winner by a long shot. If haven't seen it already, take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARROLL: OK, what you didn't see there, Carol, was earlier in that ad, you see the Clydesdale as a foal, and you see the trainer giving him milk and watching him grow up. And then finally you see him, you know, going down this parade route. He's looking at him longingly thinking he's going to turn around, and he does in the end.

Anyway, Asymmetrics, the company that rates ads by polling consumers said that particular ad was one of the highest rated ever. The ad was so well liked, even the people behind the competing ad for Century 21 said the horse won hands down.


COSTELLO: I kind of like the Taco Bell ad, though. I thought that was pretty funny.

CARROLL: You know, I loved it just because it was great to see these seniors really having a lot of fun, and that's really what this was all about. Seniors escaping the old folks home to get out there and party. You have to take a look at part of this one.


CARROLL: So as you see there, they're out there doing just everything that a lot of people would do. I guess, if you're elderly and you want to get out of the home and you're craving your Taco Bell and probably some other things as well that we shouldn't mention here on TV. But they're out having a -- having lot of fun. And -- but you know, with any winner, there's going to be losers as well. And some of the ads that just didn't seem to rate very well with consumers and watchers, that Go Daddy ad, the spot between the model making out with the nerd? That really seemed to turn a lot of people off.

Also, there was the Volkswagen spot featuring the guy with the Jamaican accent. That just seemed to offend a lot of people. And Calvin Klein, which was there for anyone who wanted to look the -- a man in his underwear moving around. Well, that just didn't seem to rate very highly as well. Maybe he should have done more than just move around.


I don't know.

COSTELLO: A man in his underwear moving around. Yes. Said like that, it really doesn't sound very good.

CARROLL: That's Calvin Klein, what are you going to do?


COSTELLO: Thank you so much, Jason Carroll.

CARROLL: You bet.

COSTELLO: We appreciate it. You've probably seen "USA Today's" ad meter, which ranks the ads that you most like. We're going to talk to the people who put that list together. That will come your way later this hour.

Girl power took over the Super Bowl at halftime with pop star Beyonce bringing down the house.

Beyonce's 12-minute concert also reunited her with Destiny's Child. And well, a lot of people believe there was no lip-synching controversy here. Nischelle Turner is here now. I must say, I was watching that entire halftime show, and I was trying to figure it out, if she lip-synched any part of that performance, and I couldn't.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, and I was having a hard time figuring it out as well. But if you listen to her tone, it wasn't completely perfect. So you think maybe she was singing live. But you know, Carol, two weeks ago, what were we talking about? We were talking about Beyonce lip-synching gate, and odds are that she was going to put on a fantastic show at the Super Bowl anyway.

I think she may have put a little extra oomph in it last night just to silence the critics.


TURNER (voice-over): Its proper name is the Super Bowl. This year some called it the Har-bowl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The brothers' reaction.

TURNER: But others renamed that little game played in the Superdome as the opening act to the Beyonce bowl.

It was arguably the most talked about halftime show in Super Bowl history.

BEYONCE, SINGER: This is what I was born to do.

TURNER: Buzz built from the moment two weeks ago when Beyonce took center stage at President Obama's inauguration.

And chose not to sing live but to a prerecorded track of her voice performing the national anthem. Critics wondered why when other performers that day sang live.

BEYONCE: Due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking a risk.

TURNER: So what does she do now? Two weeks later, standing in the spotlight once again.


TURNER: Backed by an al girl band, the singing superstar seemed to silence her critics by tearing through her biggest hits, including "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy." And when her former Destiny's Child members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, joined her -- Super Bowl watchers from New York to L.A. danced and sang along with "B." And by the reaction, lip-sync-gate is all but forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was phenomenal.

TURNER (on camera): You thought so?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely phenomenal. I mean, I just -- for someone singing live, that was amazing.

UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: She fell down after inauguration, but she came up and made up for it. It can't be mad no more. That is over, shut them all down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hard to sing and dance in heels and do all that. I think she really did a great job.

TURNER: Do we need to stop asking these questions or stop talking about the inauguration scene?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Enough about the inauguration!

TURNER: The super famous also weighed in on Beyonce's super show. The first lady took to twitter saying, "watching the #super bowl with family and friends, @Beyonce was phenomenal. I am so proud of her."

The most famous woman with one name summed up the Super Bowl show with one word, "Beyonce!"

And Jay-Z didn't forget to support his wife as seen on this post- performance hug posted on Instagram by Beyonce's makeup artist Joanna Simkin.

After the Super Bowl power failure, Jay-Z tweeted, "Lights out. Any questions?"

If there were, most people say they've now been answered. This supersize performance has put lip-sync-gate to rest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was not lip-syncing.


TURNER: Now, after that big squeeze that she got from her husband Jay-Z, Beyonce put out a little love of her own, Carol. She took to Instagram.

She posted this message saying, "What a proud day for African-American women, Kelly, Michelle, Alicia, JHud, you were all beautiful, talented and showed super class. It was an honor to perform at the Super Bowl with you phenomenal ladies."

And phenomenal indeed. Now, Carol, I take you back to football to wrap this up. That may have been her MVP speech because Alec Baldwin tweeted last night as well. His tweet was, "The MVP of the Super Bowl rhymes with Beyonce."

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All she needed to do at the end of her performance was just drop the mike. She should have went --

TURNER: Drop it.



COSTELLO: Nischelle Turner, thank you.

TURNER: All right.

COSTELLO: Beyonce, as you heard, is not the only singer to rock the Super Bowl. Coming up in next hour, Nischelle tells us about Jennifer Hudson's stirring rendition of "America the Beautiful" with the Sandy Hook Elementary School Chorus. And Alicia Keys breaks the Super Bowl with her version of "The Star Spangled Banner." A look at both performances coming your way in just about 40 minutes.

We've got a ton of Super Bowl still ahead. But, first, a check on other stories we're following this morning. In California, tragedy on a narrow sloping highway. A tour bus crashes in the night.


COSTELLO: The death toll in San Bernardino, California, just east of Los Angeles, there was a big tour bus crash, and the death toll now stands at eight. But that death toll is expected to rise.

Authorities believe the bus rea rear-ended a car and then crashed into a pickup truck, and then the bus rolled over. The accident happened in a mountainous area on a stretch of state Highway 38. This is an area known for its winding roads and its often dangerous traffic conditions.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is near the crash scene.

Bring us up to date, Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, when you go up to that crash scene, it is grisly, it is horrific, and it is heart- breaking.

Right now, the coroner's office on scene trying to sort out this mess. There are bodies inside this bus. There are bodies outside this bus. There are tarps covering these bodies.

And what's leading to a lot of confusion right now is some of these bodies are so close together they don't have a firm grip on just how many fatalities there are. And that's why the California Highway Patrol has said right now they are setting a preliminary number at eight, but they say that that will undoubtedly change and will rise.

Also, we know that at least 27 people have been wounded, six of them critically, and taken to area hospitals. Some of them are children, Carol.

So, right now, a very active investigation, and word that we have from Caltrans and others is witnesses said they saw smoking from the back of the bus, and all indications are there could have been a problem with the brakes.

COSTELLO: Oh. Paul Vercammen reporting live from San Bernardino County, California, this morning.

No question about it. This year's Super Bowl wasn't just about football. Politics, over-the-top ads, a much anticipated halftime performance. So, who were the winners and losers? It's our talk back question today., or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Now's your chance to talk back on one of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning: who are the winners and losers of the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl XLVII -- truly, truly, one of the strangest trips ever. It had it all.

Mayors talking about gun control --


WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show, no loopholes anywhere for anyone.

NARRATOR: America can do this for us. Please.


COSTELLO: And there was the president talking about gay equality and the Boy Scouts.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, my attitude is, is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.


COSTELLO: There were touching patriotic ads honoring our troops, and farmers, Doritos, and Calvin Klein underwear. Wait, there was football too, a whiplash inducing game.

Still, you had to wonder who had more to prove last night, the Ravens, the 49ers, or Beyonce?

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) COSTELLO: The game was a blowout until Beyonce's overly produced light show blew it out. Well, maybe not literally but still.

How many times in your lifetime have you witnessed a power outage after a spectacular 108-yard touchdown run?

As Tom Shales put it in the "Chicago Sun-Times," "When the lights went out, this big huge thing looked stunningly, even laughably insignificant, just a bunch of guys standing around in the dark wearing tight pants and looking lost without a ball to chase up and down a field."

Actually, social media loved it. According to, Twitter lit up during the power outages, or during the power outage, rather -- 231,500 tweets per minute.

One from the Dark Lord himself, aka Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter. He tweeted, "The stadium just went into a blackout. Clearly, the dementors showed up a little late to watch Beyonce."

Black magic aside, the Super Bowl is quintessentially American. But with a pre-game show that started at 2:00 p.m. and a game that lasted all night long, it's no wonder I have a super Super Bowl hangover.

So the talk back question for you, who were the winners and losers at the Super Bowl?,, or you can tweet me @carolCNN.

I'll be right back.