Football’s Instant Replay: A Game Changer in Sports Viewing

NFL instant replay

More than 40 years ago this month a significant game changer in sports television viewing occurred.

On December 7, 1963, CBS Sports introduced Tony Verna’s instant replay concept during the Army vs. Navy football game at the old Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia, PA.

Verna’s creation initially confused some Army vs. Navy game viewers who ironically thought they were witnessing their team scoring again in the exact same way.


However, the instant replay concept quickly caught on and has been forever embraced by fans in every conceivable sport.

The Directors Guild of America presented Verna with its Lifetime Achievement Award and named his instant replay creation as #33 in the greatest moments on television.

Since 1963, Verna’s legacy has flourished and today’s sports fans probably could never imagine watching a game without it.

Impatient NFL Fans Now Mutter That Instant Replay is Anything But Instant Anymore

However, some highly impatient NFL fans now mutter that Verna’s football instant replay is anything but instant anymore.

Complaining about booth reviews and the seemingly endless time NFL refs spend under the hood, football fans claim they can read thousands of pages of Congressional legislation – twice – faster than a ref can sort out the very same play that he and his NFL officiating crew just witnessed live only a few minutes before.

Football fans at home even weigh in on the now controversial topic. They believe they can raid the refrigerator, hit the head and update their fantasy picks, then find themselves stewing on the sofa as the zebra clad man slowly and seriously studies replays from every conceivable angle.

A ref’s decision should be easy, but it’s NOT. The implications of instant replay are too far reaching to get the call wrong.

The actions of the main man in stripes always seems slower than that of a slug’s. But, in spite of the painful waiting time, the officials’ calls are preponderantly correct.

And, fidgety sports fans have the late Tony Verna to thank.

R.I.P. Tony Verna. And, thanks for envisioning the concept of instant replay in spite of how endlessly long it has become on occassion.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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