Army-Navy game: Instant replay made its debut on Dec. 7, 1963
Instant replay made its debut 52 years ago on this day Dec. 7, 1963 during the CBS telecast of the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.
CBS director Tony Verna was the genius behind the idea but wasn't completely sure if the technology would even work during the game. Verna didn't even inform the CBS crew -- Lindsey Nelson, Terry Brennan and Jim Simpson -- about his plans until the morning of the game.
The system Verna used relied on refrigerator sized tape decks that weighed nearly 1,200 pounds. It took Verna a few attempts throughout the game to get the right footage the crew could use before it finally clicked. Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh scored a 1-yard touchdown for the Cadets in the fourth quarter.
Verna grabbed the footage and played the touchdown at full speed again.
Fans watching the CBS broadcast probably thought they had saw the same play twice later in the game. Nelson had to remind confused viewers "This is not live. Ladies and gentleman, Army did not score again."
And thus instant replay was born.
Stichweh's touchdown was the only time Verna and CBS used instant replay in the game due to some difficulties experienced. Unfortunately, the original tape storing the footage was lost.
Verna passed away earlier this year on Jan. 19. During his career, Verna directed five Super Bowls, 12 Kentucky Derby telecasts and the Olympics. But he will always be remembered as the man who changed the sports television landscape forever in 1963.