PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) – Tony Verna, a television director and producer who invented instant replay for live sports games 51 years ago, has died.
Verna’s daughter, Tracy Soiseth, said her father died Sunday at his Palm Desert, California, home after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was 81.
Verna introduced the concept of instant replay during the Army-Navy football game on Dec. 7, 1963, after developing a method to cue the tape to pinpoint the play he wants to immediately air again.
Instant replay quickly became a staple of sports games, but the concept was so new that the game’s announcer had to warn viewers that the play was not live and that Army had not scored again.
Verna also worked on other high-profile TV broadcasts, including the Olympics and 1985’s Live Aid fundraiser.