It was on this day in 1963 that CBS first aired an instant replay of a football game. It came during the annual Army-Navy game, which was postponed due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Erik Malinowski relates at Wired that not everything went perfectly:
Technical issues meant that the only time Verna's crew was able to successfully get a play rebroadcast over the air while the game was underway was at the end, when Army scored the go-ahead touchdown.
As Michael Connelly describes it in his book The President's Team:
The 1963 Army-Navy Game and the Assassination of JFK, millions of people watching at home were instantly beside themselves with bewilderment. People watching the game on television were confused. After [Army quarterback Rollie] Stichweh rolled right and plunged into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown, they saw him do exactly the same thing again. Immediately, the CBS phone lines were inundated with phone calls to confirm whether Army had scored again.
Once the technical kinks got worked out, instant replay became a standard part of sports broadcasts, not to mention more important events, like the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.
But while instant replay has changed the way sports (and other events) are viewed, from my perspective, its greatest gift to the world is the opportunity for tongue-twisting analysis it provided for media scholars. Here's Stephanie Marriott on "the apparent fracturing of Newtonian chronology" caused by instant replay from her paper, "Time and again: 'live television commentary and the construction of replay talk." (Sorry, it's paywalled.)
In the sections which follow, this task is undertaken via a description of the kind of talk produced by commentators during they replay. An examination of replay talk furnishes us with a rich set of insights into the temporal structure of both the original event and the narrative reconstruction of the event. Here, as elsewhere, the linguistic analysis of broadcast talk provides a key tool for the delineation of a phenomenological domain.
That's followed up with close readings of the things that broadcasters say when they're looking at instant replays, which -- as any meathead could tell you -- are essentially idiotic. But she manages to include this wonderful chart of how instant replay works.
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