RIP Tony Verna: Inventor of instant replay

Just think how different sports, not just sports TV, would be without instant replay. You wouldn’t have those excruciating 8-minute interruptions while the referees determine who knocked the ball out of bounds.

OK, so there are some negatives to instant replay.

However, there are far more positives, thanks to Tony Verna’s creation. Verna died Sunday at the age of 81.

From the Associated Press obit:

CBS used instant replay for the first time in the Dec. 7, 1963 Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, after Verna developed a method to cue the tape to pinpoint the play he wanted to immediately air again. He said he was looking for a way to fill those boring gaps between plays during a football telecast.

┬áThe concept was so new that when Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh scored a touchdown, announcer Lindsey Nelson had to warn viewers: “This is not live! Ladies and gentlemen, Army did not score again!”

Instant replay quickly became a staple of sports broadcasting, and Verna’s innovation gave fans a new way to look at the games.

“Not many things you can do in life where you can change the way things were happening before,” Verna told The Associated Press in 2008.

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