Tony Verna, the man who invented instant replay for CBS Sports television, died Sunday in Palm Desert, CBS reported. He was 81.
The veteran producer and director of television producer of television sports and entertainment specials died on the same day as his innovations were enjoyed by a national audience viewing the NFL Division Championships, with the winners of the two division games headed for the Super Bowl.
Verna’s hallmark was an ability to continually come up with advances in the use of cameras, program content and creative interplay. He used an old trick from his radio days to enable a football play to be instantly rebroadcast.
Instant replay was first used in the CBS broadcast of the 1963 Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.
Verna was born Nov. 26, 1933 in Philadelphia. He began his career at 19 as a television director at the fledgling WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. He went on to work as a sports director for CBS Television and later worked as an independent producer and director of sports and entertainment programs and specials.
His credits also include producing and directing Pope John Paul II’ TV special, “A Prayer for World Peace,” and the historic music special “Live Aid.”
Information about his survivors and service was not immediately released.