Power goes in and out during Chargers-Bills game, affects TV feed

Updated: October 19, 2008, 4:32 PM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Power was restored at Ralph Wilson Stadium after 45 minutes with the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers having played about 16 minutes of game time Sunday.

The power came back on with about 11 minutes left in the second quarter, and just after Bills kicker Rian Lindell missed a 52-yard field goal wide right, which would have cut the Chargers' lead to 7-6.

The CBS TV feed was out until 2 p.m., or about 5 minutes after the power came back on in the stadium. The game, which had been delayed for 15 minutes in the first quarter, resumed with on-field officials keeping time while shouting out the time left on the play clock.

That didn't help much, as both teams were penalized once each for delay of game.

The power went out once again at the 2-minute warning of the second quarter, and was out for 19 minutes, returning just before the start of the third quarter in the press box -- though the TV feed was still out. The stadium scoreboards were out except for the play clock at each end of the field.

Referee Jeff Triplette's on-field microphone was working, as was the public address system.

"TV has not said anything to us at all," NFL officiating observer Art McNally said of resuming the game with no TV coverage. "New York [the NFL] told us, 'It's your game. It's your call. They [network] will have to do what they can to get their commercials in.'"

The network was able to air all the commercials that were promised to advertisers,a CBS spokesman said. The game was being shown in 37 percent of the country.

The electricity had gone out at the stadium about a half-hour before the game after three helium balloons became entangled in power lines across the street from the facility.

Power was restored throughout most of the stadium within 15 minutes, although it blinked on and off just before the 1 p.m. start, and the game kicked off on time.

Emergency officials and work crews blocked off part of the area in front of the stadium on Abbott Road as they worked to remove the balloons, which appeared to be affecting the electrical flow. A New York State Electric and Gas worker also said that a breaker blew and had to be restored.

The outage occurred at about 12:29 while both teams were practicing on the field. The stadium lights and scoreboard blinked off, as did the power in the press box. The main scoreboard was the last to power up, about 5 minutes before the start of the game.

At the time of the delay, on-field officials addressed both teams at the line of scrimmage. Players from both teams then went to their respective sidelines. Some stretched, while others stood around talking with their helmets off. Lynch rode a stationary bike, while Bills quarterback Trent Edwards played catch with backup J.P. Losman.

Triplette was on the Bills sideline talking to an NFL official and Marc Honan, Bills vice president of marketing and broadcasting.

Numerous fans inside the sold-out stadium stood up to stretch or headed to concession stands. A few loud cheers went up.

Bills cheerleaders continued their routines along the sidelines.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press