Mayor defends New Orleans after blackout

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Mayor defends New Orleans after blackout

From Comcast SportsNetNEW ORLEANS (AP) -- New Orleans' mayor defended his city days after a power outage plunged the Super Bowl into 34 minutes of darkness, while authorities still baffled by the cause announced they were bringing in a consultant to help investigate.The outage that embarrassed New Orleans as it sought to showcase its rebound from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina happened despite hundreds of thousands of dollars of improvements to decaying utility lines, documents show.Mayor Mitch Landrieu sought to put an upbeat spin on the matter at a news conference Tuesday, saying the city's performance as host was near flawless despite the lights-out episode."The 34 minutes of darkness will never overshadow or outshine the city of New Orleans and how we performed this Super Bowl week," Landrieu said.He also said the outage won't pull the plug on city plans to bid for an 11th Super Bowl in 2018. It last hosted a Super Bowl in 2002, three years before Katrina swamped the city.Concerned the Superdome might not be able to handle the energy needed for its first Super Bowl since Katrina, officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on upgrades to decayed utility lines, according to the documents obtained by The Associated Press.The improvements apparently weren't enough, however, to prevent the glaring third quarter outage that was as much talked about as the Baltimore Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.Still, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the city did a terrific job hosting this time. "I fully expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls," he said.On Tuesday, Superdome officials and the power provider Entergy New Orleans said they had failed to find a cause for the outage. They added they would hire a consultant to analyze their data. It wasn't clear how long an investigation would take."We thought it was important to get another party looking at this to make sure we were looking at everything that we need to," Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde said.Tests on the electrical feeders that connect incoming power from utility lines to the stadium showed decay and "a chance of failure," state officials warned in a memo dated Oct. 15. The documents also show that Entergy expressed concern about the reliability of the service before the Super Bowl.The memo said Entergy and the Superdome's engineering staff "had concerns regarding the reliability of the Dome service from Entergy's connection point to the Dome."The memo was prepared for the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, the state body responsible for the Superdome.Authorities subsequently authorized spending nearly 1 million on Superdome improvements, including more than 600,000 for upgrading the dome's electrical feeder cable system, work that was done in December."As discussed in previous board meetings, this enhancement is necessary to maintain both the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena as top tier facilities, and to ensure that we do not experience any electrical issues during the Super Bowl," said an LSED document dated Dec. 19.Superdome commission records show a 513,250 contract to replace feeder cables was awarded to Louisiana-based Allstar Electric. Arthur Westbrook, Allstar's project manager for the job, referred all questions to the management company.A lawyer for the LSED, Larry Roedel, said a preliminary investigation found the replacement work in December did not appear to have caused Sunday's outage.And meters showed the 76,000-seat stadium was drawing no more electricity than it does during a typical New Orleans Saints game, according to Doug Thornton, vice president for the Superdome's management company, SMGHe also ruled out Beyonce's halftime performance. She brought her own generator.Officials with the utility and the Superdome were quick to note that an NFL game, the Sugar Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl also were played there in recent weeks.Both Entergy and SMG said Sunday that an "abnormality" occurred where stadium equipment intersects with an Entergy electric feed, causing a breaker to create the outage. It remained unclear what the abnormality was or why it occurred.

More bad blood ahead for Celtics vs Wizards series?

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More bad blood ahead for Celtics vs Wizards series?

On this episode of "The Best of Boston Sports Tonight Podcast", Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles break down the Celtics closing out the Bulls and preview the next round against Washington with Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. Also, Mike Giardi and Phil Perry break down the Patriots two picks on Friday.

  • 0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Celtics defeating the Bulls 105-83, beating Chicago in 6 games to advance in the 2nd round of the playoffs.
  • 6:14 - Kyle Draper and Chris Mannix preview the upcoming series against the Washington Wizards and the bad blood between the two teams.
  • 10:19 - Mike Giardi and Phil Perry break down the Patriots first drafts picks, selecting DE Derek Rivers from Youngstown and OT Antonio Garcia from Troy in the 3rd round.
  • 15:45 - Hear what Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley had to say after the win. Also, A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the feeling in the Celtics locker room after the win.

Patriots third-rounder Rivers takes winding road to Foxboro

Patriots third-rounder Rivers takes winding road to Foxboro

FOXBORO -- There was not much room for debate as far as this was concerned: Derek Rivers was among the most physically-impressive defensive ends in a draft class loaded at that position.

That begs the question, then, how did the Patriots have the opportunity to draft Rivers at No. 83 overall in the third round? 

The short answer is that he went to Youngstown State, an FCS school, and those players usually don't come off the board early.

But that answer only leads to more questions, as in, how did someone with the athleticism Rivers possesses end up at Youngstown in the first place? And why did he stay?

At 6-foot-4, 248 pounds Rivers was among the top defensive line performers at this year's combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, which was good for fourth at his position group. His 30 bench reps of 225 pounds were also fourth among defensive linemen, and tied him with Solomon Thomas (the No. 3 overall pick who weighed 273 pounds in Indy).

Rivers also checked in with the ninth-best broad jump for defensive linemen (123 inches), the fifth-best vertical (35 inches), and the third-best three-cone drill (6.94 seconds).

Those kinds of athletes don't typically end up at Youngstown State. They usually end up a couple hundred miles down the road in Columbus.

"Out of high school, I was a non-qualifier, so I didn’t get my SATs, and then I was just a late bloomer," said Rivers, who was 182 pounds near the end of his sophomore year in high school, according to Vindy.com. "I wasn’t very heavily recruited so I went to Fork Union [Military Academy] and then Youngstown came and they offered me. I was just ready to play ball."

Rivers may have been able to head to a bigger program after emerging for Youngstown as a sophomore with 14 sacks (fifth in FCS that year) and 17 tackles for a loss. But he stayed, and he continued to dominate. As a junior he had eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. As a senior he had 14 sacks and a whopping 19.5 tackles for loss.

Feeling devoted to the program that gave him a chance, Rivers remained and had the opportunity to work under coach Bo Pelini for each of the last two seasons. 

Pelini, a former Nebraska head coach and former Patriots linebackers coach under Pete Carroll (1997-99), may have in a roundabout way helped Rivers land in New England. Pelini and Bill Belichick seem to have a good relationship -- Belichick is now coaching two of Pelini's former players in Vincent Valentine and Rex Burkhead -- and Belichick referenced the coaching Rivers received under Pelini as one of the reasons why Rivers is ready for the NFL. 

When asked about Pelini during his conference call with Patriots reporters, Rivers seemed to agree. 

"Bo was awesome, man. He was like another father to me as far as when he came to Youngstown," Rivers said. "I mean, he took our team to another level. Just the little things that he focused on as far as accountability, doing all the little things right. I mean, those were the things that Bo emphasized, and those were the things that Bo instilled in me."

Rivers added: "The first thing that Coach Bo said in his first meeting with us when he got to Youngstown was that he was like, ‘What you do off the field is going to reflect on how you play on the field.’

"I was a non-qualifier in high school. At Youngstown, I’m probably going to graduate with a 3.0, and it makes sense. If you’re lazy off the field, you’re going to be lazy on the field. If you miss assignments in class, you may miss assignments on the field, so they translate."

Even though even though he's not coming from Alabama or Florida State, even though he took a bit of a circuitous route to get there, in his first night with the team Rivers sure sounded like someone who's been on the fast track to Foxboro for years.