So long to Tony Verna, who died in January at age 81 after a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
You may not recognize the name (I didn’t), but you almost certainly know what he’s famous for. He’s the guy who, in the early 1960s, invented instant replay and quite literally changed sports forever.
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
The 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.