Inventor of Instant Replay's Legacy Lives on

Inventor of Instant Replay's Legacy Lives on

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The inventor of instant replay Tony Verna passed away last weekend but his legacy lives on. His idea changed the way we watch football.

Verna, who was a television director and producer, figured out a way to rewind video tape to show a previous play live on air before the next snap during a broadcasted football game.

The first time instant replay was used was during the 1963 Army-Navy game that featured Gold Jacket Roger Staubach. Technology was not widely available during that time so Verna had to create a method to make it happen.

You can read all about how he created instant replay here>>>

Verna's system in broadcasting was used by Art McNally, who brought it to NFL officiating.

The 2014 NFL season marked the 16th straight year that there league's current format of Instant Replay has existed. Instant Replay allows each team two challenges per game. A challenge initiates a review of the play in question by the referee at a monitor located on the field. A decision is reversed only when the Referee has indisputable visual evidence to overturn the call. Inside two minutes of each half, all replay challenges are initiated by the Replay Assistant in the booth. In 2011, a change in the Instant Replay format now requires all scoring plays to be reviewed by the Replay Assistant. If there is some doubt about the validity of a score, a challenge is initiated.

      Excerpt from the 2014 NFL Rule Book

      Section 9 Instant Replay

          The League will employ a system of Referee Replay Review to aid officiating for reviewable plays as defined
          below. Prior to the two-minute warning of each half, a Coaches' Challenge System will be in effect except
          for plays when the on-field ruling results in a score for either team. After the two-minute warning of each
          half, throughout any overtime period, and after all scoring plays, a Referee Review will be initiated by a
          Replay Official from a Replay Booth comparable to the location of the coaches' booth or Press Box.

From 1986 to 1991, a limited system on Instant Replay was used on a year-by-year basis. That format gave the Replay Official in the booth sole responsible for initiating replay reviews and making the decision to overturn a call on the field.

NFL's history of Instant Replay reviews:

NFL's History of Instant Replay Reviews
Year Games Plays Reviewed Reversals
1986 224 374 38
1987 210 490 57
1988 224 537 53
1989 224 492 65
1990 224 504 73
1991 224 570 90
TOTAL 1,330 2,967 376


Year Games Total Replay Reviews Challenges Reversals
1999 248 195 133 57
2000 248 247 179 84
2001 248 258 191 89
2002 256 294 208 94
2003 256 255 184 66
2004 256 283 233 88
2005 256 295 223 92
2006 256 311 237 107
2007 256 327 250 122
2008 256 315 229 117
2009 256 328 228 126
2010 256 361 252 133
2011 256 390 209 172
2012 256 435 157 170
2013 256 423 183 185
TOTAL 3,048 3,469 2,547 1,175

One of the most famous Instant Replay challenges occurred in Super Bowl XLIV. In that game the New Orleans Saints were trailing the Indianapolis Colts 17-16 when the Saints scored on a two-yard pass from Drew Brees to Jeremy Shockey. The go-ahead TD gave the Saints a five-point advantage with 5:46 remaining in the championship matchup. The Saints chose to go for a two-point conversion after the touchdown in an effort to extend their lead to seven points. On the conversion attempt, Brees' pass to a diving Lance Moore was ruled incomplete, but New Orleans coach Sean Payton thought otherwise. He threw a challenge flag and after further review the on-field ruling was overturned which gave the Saints a crucial 24-17 lead. The momentum from the challenge and reversal seemed to lift the Saints as they eventually won their first Super Bowl championship.

Fans can put themselves in the shoes of a football official with the the Hall of Fame's Instant Replay Booth Experience. Go under the hood and make the call to determine if the play stands or is overruled. Plan your visit today>>>




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