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.

New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

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New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

FOXBORO -- A year ago, the Patriots had a unique challenge: Fulfill Tom Brady’s desire to take every snap but also get Jimmy Garoppolo ready to run the team in Brady’s four-game absence.

This year, there’s no suspension looming. But Josh McDaniels still is tasked with getting Brady, Garoppolo and, yes, Jacoby Brissett ready for prime time.

“It’s the same every year for us,” said McDaniels a day before the first training camp practice. “We really didn’t change what we were doing in training camp last year.”

To quibble with the Pats successful offensive coordinator, there did appear to be a change, particularly with Brady’s usage during the preseason games. Perhaps the confluence of events in Brady’s personal life (mother’s illness) and that scissor mishap were driving forces, but bottom line is the program had to be altered. Still, the overall theme didn’t, and won’t again according to McDaniels.

“Everybody is going to get plenty of reps,” he said. “Fundamentals, techniques, all of the things that are basic to our success as we go through the course of the season, this is our opportunity to anchor those in our players so they’ll all three get plenty of reps . . . we’ll just let it play out.”

During OTAs and mini camp, Garoppolo spoke of competing to be the starter. Wishful thinking perhaps from the fourth-year pro, what with the GOAT firmly entrenched ahead of him on the depth chart, but it’s precisely that kind of attitude that is beneficial not only to the player but the entire roster.

“If you’re here, you’re responsible to try to push the people ahead of you so you can get out on the field and help us win,” said McDaneils. “I don’t think there’s a lot of deferring in any room, and that’s the great thing. That means we have a lot of competition and that’s the thing that makes everybody better. “

That competition started in the spring and will continue going forward to McDaniel’s satisfaction, or else. 

“They’ll be things I get mad at and will yell about,” he smiled.

Looking forward to it.

Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

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Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

Former Patriots defensive captain Jerod Mayo joins Tom E. Curran and Phill Perry to give a peak behind the curtain of the Patriots operation run by Bill Belichick.

Mayo talks about becoming a captain, how New England differs from other NFL franchises, what impact Belichick had on not only his career , but life, and how good the defense can be this season.