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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

49ers Blackout: Life Imitates Art

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

click to enlarge All things considered, a few more candlesticks would have helped out at Candlestick
  • All things considered, a few more candlesticks would have helped out at Candlestick

If nothing else, yesterday's lights-out performance by the San Francisco 49ers' defense offered sportswriters the chance to make gratuitous puns. The hometown side folded, spindled, and mutilated the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, despite a pair of lengthy -- and embarrassing -- power outages. No lights? Well, they don't call it Candlestick Park for nothing.

The blackouts forced football fans and broadcasters to suddenly cope with the wholly alien situation of dealing with vast amounts of dead time in the midst of a professional football game. This led to much gnashing of teeth and pointing of fingers between the 49ers and PG&E.

It also led to amateur conspiracy theory-mongering -- as if the 49ers needed to pull a stunt like this to prove Candlestick Park is a dump, and as if PG&E needed an excuse to blow up its clientele.

What was missed in all the inaction, however, is that the scene at Candlestick Park eerily resembled a 15-year-old commercial -- featuring the 49ers.

It never ceases to boggle the mind what you can find on YouTube. But, sadly, I cannot locate the 1997 Ericsson commercial in question. Here's a story from Advertising Age about the spot, however, just to prove I'm not imagining the whole thing.

In the ad, a power outage hit Ericsson Stadium -- home of the Carolina Panthers -- while the ball is in play during a game with the Niners. Fans hold their phones aloft -- much as real fans did at The 'Stick last night -- illuminating the field of play. The light from the legion of cell phones is so great, the 49ers and Panthers are jarred to chase down the loose ball.

That's not how it went last night. Instead, everyone twiddled their thumbs, while national web troglodytes bashed the 49ers' facility -- certainly a way could be found to blame this gaffe on "libruls" -- and locals bashed PG&E.

Those at the stadium, undoubtedly, played with their luminescent phones -- which glow much brighter and offer one much more to do than back in '97, incidentally.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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