BBC Video Project Could Reverse 'Immaculate Reception' Play

With the help of new 3-D video technology developed by the BBC, one of the greatest sports mysteries ever could be solved.

That means a viewer, through BBC's computer graphics, can see angles neither the game officials nor the camera could see. Thomas said that "Piero is able to achieve an expansive 3-D model of live-action" with a single-camera installation, based on "given assumptions about scene geometry."

BBC recently conducted a trial of an advanced form of Piero during soccer matches at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, using 16 strategically placed cameras. The set up created a helicopter-like, 180-degree virtual view of every play.

"Eventually," noted Thomas, "we can stream virtual data, so that the viewer can choose angles of virtual game images."

Paul Mason, chief technical coordinator for BBC Resources, suggested that game officials might find the advanced virtual devices useful for making "better calls."

Under such high-tech scrutiny, which represents the possible future of "instant replay," the "Immaculate Reception" might not have endured for more than 30 years as one of the greatest mysteries in sports.

With the help of Piero, the Raiders might have won.

Additional comment by John Walko in London

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