December 7, 1963: Instant Replay Debuts in Televised Sports

On this day in 1963, video instant replay was used for the first time in CBS’ telecast of the Army-Navy game. While the start was bumpy, it revolutionized the way games were broadcast.

Army-Navy 1963On this day in 1963, video instant replay was used for the first time in CBS’ telecast of the Army-Navy game. While the start was bumpy, it revolutionized the way games were broadcast.

Showing plays again had begun in sports telecasts as early as 1955, but because of technological constraints, the plays would be re-run several minutes after they happened. For the Army-Navy game, CBS Sports Director Tony Vena had invented a system to replay instantly. Because of technical difficulties, it was only used once, showing Army’s Rollie Stichweh’s touchdown at full speed. Broadcaster Lindsey Nelson assured viewers that Army did not score again. Navy won the game 21-15.

Since then, instant replay has become vital to any broadcast. It’s hard to imagine life without it.

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