Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on April 21st, 2015

Tony Verna: He revolutionized televised sports by creating instant replay.

Tony Verna
Tony Verna  

In 1963, Tony, a television producer and director was directing the CBS television coverage of the Army-Navy football game, when as an experiment; he tampered with a big bulky tape recording machine, the only kind used at that time.

Tony wanted to instantly show viewers replays of important plays.

Late in the game, Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh ran for a touchdown, which CBS broadcast live, and then thanks to Tony, amazed everyone by instantly replaying it.

An instant replay had never happened before.

So striking was it that the stunned play-by-play announcer Lindsey Nelson blurted out to viewers, "This is not live! Ladies and gentlemen, Army did not score again!"

Until then, viewers could see a play live, and only later see a tape replay. Now it was immediate, which dramatically changed sports coverage.

Just a month later at the Cotton Bowl football game between Navy and Texas, technicians had so improved the process, that announcer Pat Summerall called it "instant replay," the name which is used to this day.

The next season, the National Football League began using instant replay for its games and soon it spread throughout all major sports.

But what Tony did took a lot of courage. CBS was and is a big company, and many people would resist doing anything risky or different that might jeopardize their careers.

Yet not only did Tony try something different on live national television, he did it without knowing what else might be on that tape.

Tony was concerned that if the instant replay was not cued up to the correct beginning point, garbled images from a previous use of the video tape, might pop up on the screen, making him look foolish.

But he tried it anyway and revolutionized televised sports.

Today, it is hard to envision a time when instant replay of events wasn't always with us, as people use modern technology on their cell-phones to create their own instant replays.

But long ago, a creative man took a bold step, and for that we are indebted to Tony.

Success Tip of the Week: If you've got what is potentially a great idea as Tony did, act on it. You too may change the world.

Editor's Note: Also thanks to Tony, who passed away at the age of 81 in 2015, replays of other parts of the play viewers hadn't seen could also be instantly shown.

For example, if live action focused on a player running for a touchdown, elsewhere on the field were key blocks that made that touchdown possible, as viewers could now see from cameras isolated on other parts of a play, which had formerly been broadcast only on Tony's monitors.

To learn more, click here. To see a two minute YouTube clip of Tony commenting, click here.

In the next KazanToday: A woman getting a grade school education at the age of 90.

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