A Look at TV's Instant Replay Through the Years
DenverPost.com has this look back at instant replay:
Television replay reshaped the landscape of American sports. As the technology evolved, replay continually changed the way games were broadcast, analyzed, officiated and, most of all, viewed by the sports public. The godfather of it all was the late Roone Arledge, who while at ABC constantly pushed for innovative ways to bring the drama of sports to the TV screen. In 1994, Sports Illustrated ranked Arledge third, behind only Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan, in its 40th anniversary issue, honoring the 40 most significant individuals in U.S. sports since SI was first published. Following is a look at key technological milestones in the history of replay and televised sports:
The first attempt
George Retzlaff, a Toronto-based producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Hockey Night in Canada,” in 1955 used a processor that developed film in 30 seconds. It led to a “wet film” (kinescope) replay of one goal in one game that was aired several minutes after the live play. It was not “instant replay” as we know it today, and Retzlaff’s idea failed to take hold.
In 1961, the 29-year-old Arledge asked ABC engineer Bob Trachinger if it would be possible to replay a piece of sports videotape in slow motion. Trachinger came up with delayed videotape replay, which was first tested during a Texas-Texas A&M college football game. But slow-motion replay’s first widespread use came Nov. 25, 1961, during ABC’s broadcast of a Boston College-Syracuse football game. Jack Concannon, Boston College’s quarterback, made a spectacular, 70-yard scoring run. Curt Gowdy called the play live, and his color analyst, Paul Christman, reviewed the play in slow motion at halftime. Arledge later boasted that the moment “would change TV sports forever.”