The Beginning of Instant Replay

On December 7, 1963, CBS became the first to utilize instant replay during the Army vs Navy football game.

Before the nationally televised game replays were utilized but it was always done during breaks in play. It was used in slow motion or even paused to show the television audience recent plays.

The 29-year-old producer, Tony Verna, was in charge of making the trial system work for the game. He had told his crew about the idea in the cab on the way to the game. The crew dealt with technical difficulties untilArmy scored a touchdown at the end of the game.

Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh threw the last touchdown of the 21-15 loss to Navy. The CBS station’s telephone lines were lit up when unsuspecting television viewers all decided to call the network to figure out if Army really scored twice. This was after commentator Lindsey Nelson told the audience it was not another touchdown.

Instant Replay has become a commonly used tool to show the audience major plays in many different angles. At times my friends and I even ask the television to show us a replay, especially after a potentially controversial call.


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