Cowboys 33, Giants 20

Nearly 81,000 people sat in total darkness for a few seconds at
the New Meadowlands Stadium during a power outage that brought
Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants to a

The $1.6 billion building that opened last spring went
completely dark for a brief time early in the third quarter. Backup
lights almost immediately came on, but play was held up by two
brownouts for a total of 11 minutes in the Cowboys’ 33-20 victory
over the Giants.

”It was kind of bizarre,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck
said. ”I’ve never been part of anything like it and hopefully I
never will again.”

Mark Lamping, the chief operating officer of the stadium,
estimated the complete blackout time as five to six seconds. A
moment after substantial power was restored, fans and media were
instructed to remain in their seats for further instructions.

”I don’t think there is any good news,” Lamping said. ”The
positive is that the emergency preparedness and protocol worked
exactly the way it was supposed to work. The systems worked as

Several banks of lights went out atop the stadium at 6 p.m. EST,
just 10 seconds into the third period. The game was delayed for
about three minutes. When play resumed, not all of those lights had
been restored.

On the second play after the stoppage, Dallas running back Felix
Jones went 71 yards with a screen pass for a touchdown.

”I think we probably needed it at that point, the way they were
going,” New York defensive end Osi Umenyiora said.

The Giants ran five plays on the ensuing series, and then the
entire arena went dark for five or six seconds. Backup lights came
on and New York’s offense and Dallas’ defense milled around on the
field while the officiating crew discussed what to do.

”When this situation happened tonight we were in constant
communication with the (NFL) command center in New York,” said
officiating supervisor Art McNally, a retired referee. ”And at no
time did it reach a point where we said we’re going to have to
postpone this game. We were in constant communication with the
people in the stadium, too. The communication was excellent.”

There wasn’t enough light to resume play immediately after the
short blackout – referee Bill Leavy assured both coaches the game
would not start again without sufficient lighting – and there was
an 8-minute delay before the Giants ran another play.

”The second time that Bill came over to discuss it, at that
point in time it was up to us,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
”Jason (Garrett, the Cowboys’ coach) had mentioned he thought it
was light enough to play. I had some reservations. Then the league
came in to say you have to have better lighting than this.”

There also was a fight in the stands during the delay.

”I just sat on the bench and was trying to be still like my mom
was always telling me when there was thunder and lightning,” Tuck

Both the Cowboys and Giants scored touchdowns on their series
that were interrupted by the power outages.

”Power was lost when one of the two feeders to the stadium
experienced a power interruption,” Lamping explained in a
statement. ”A second power interruption occurred to the second
feeder, causing a full outage. Functionality to the original feeder
was restored.

”We are currently investigating the original cause of the

The stadium has had some previous issues with power and false
alarms. During a preseason exhibition game between the two tenants,
the Giants and Jets, fire alarms went off in the stadium. There
also were some power outages in the press box.

”Obviously a fluky situation,” Lamping said of Sunday night’s
incidents. ”We’re going to have to determine what it was. We’re
not just going to say something happened tonight and it won’t
happen again. We have to make sure that (the power company) and the
sports authority, all of us dig in and diagnose what happened, and
if any corrective actions are needed we take them so this won’t
happen again.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this story.