Friday, December 6, 2013

The 50th anniversary of instant replay on 1963 Army-Navy game

On 12/7/1963, the CBS telecast of the Army-Navy football game featured the first use of instant replay on a live sporting event. CBS used a technique created by director Tony Verna to replay a touchdown run by Army QB Rollie Stichweh in the 4th quarter shortly after showing it live. The announcers on that game were Lindsey Nelson and Terry Brennan.

Some interesting aspects on the 50th anniversary of this great innovation:
  • Nelson did not even learn about this innovation until the morning of the game.
  • CBS had trouble getting the technology to work properly and only used one such replay during the entire telecast.
  • The replay was shown at actual speed. Slow-motion instant replay would be developed in the future.
  • CBS did not refer to it as "instant replay" on the telecast. That terminology would come later.
Here is a look back at this invention:

and more reflections from Verna on the historic first use.

The initial use of instant replay is also mentioned in the tremendous CBS Sports Network documentary on that game Marching On: 1963 Army-Navy Remembered which will be replayed several more times.

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