Two power outages delay Steelers-49ers game in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- Candlestick Park went dark twice in the San Francisco 49ers' much-anticipated return to prime time.

Two power outages delayed the Niners' 20-3 Monday-night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, first just before kickoff and again early in the second quarter after the stadium moved to a backup power source.

NFL security chief Jeff Miller said he witnessed a transformer blow up while he was monitoring a gate outside the stadium. A shooting during the preseason had already put a negative light on this venue.

The first outage pushed back the opening kickoff by 20 minutes. Thousands of flashbulbs went off in the midst of the blackness, with a sellout crowd of 69,732 sitting in darkness.

The second delay came early in the second quarter and halted the game between the playoff-bound teams again for about 15 minutes. Miller and other NFL officials gathered in the press box to assess the situation, remaining in constant contact with the commissioner's office.

Miller said the problem appeared to be outside the stadium.

San Francisco police said they received a bomb threat by phone just before kickoff. According to the San Jose Mercury News, officers searched the area and found nothing to the threat.

The NFL certainly will want to make sure there are no problems when San Francisco hosts a home playoff game next month as NFC West champions. Miller said he believes Candlestick can capably host a playoff game.

The power throughout the stadium went off about 25 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of 5:40 p.m. PT. The public address system stopped working, so team officials encouraged media to use Twitter to encourage fans to sit tight and not panic. An emergency light quickly came on in a far corner of the stadium.

Joe Molica, a spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said the power company was still investigating the cause of the outage. "We do know that Candlestick was the only customer affected by this outage," he said.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, suspended for Monday night's game because of his helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last week, had some fun with the blackout, tweeting, "If I cant play then can't nobody play... Lights Out!"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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