Campus Corner

New Mizzou signee Blake Harris’ father helped usher in NFL’s modern instant-replay system

Green Bay Packers linebacker Bernardo Harris sacked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman during a game in 1997.
Green Bay Packers linebacker Bernardo Harris sacked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman during a game in 1997. The Associated Press

Missouri’s newest men’s basketball signee, Blake Harris, has an interesting connection to the NFL.

His father, Bernardo, who initially signed with the Chiefs after a standout college career at North Carolina, indirectly helped usher in the modern era of instant replay.

Bernardo Harris, who was cut by the Chiefs after suffering a knee injury during training camp in 1994, signed with the Packers in January 1995 and played seven seasons in Green Bay.

He appeared in 27 games as a reserve inside linebacker and special-teams player during his first two seasons with the Packers before cracking the starting for 79 of 80 games from 1997-2001.

It was during that time Bernardo Harris, who racked up 355 tackles with 7  1/2 sacks for Green Bay, was involved in a controversial play during the NFL playoffs that prompted the league to renew instant replay.

The NFL used instant replay from 1986-1991, but the system was scrapped only to be reintroduced as a challenge system in 1999 thanks to a series of high-profile botched calls.

Among the most glaring was a fumble by Hall of Fame 49ers receiver Jerry Rice during an NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Packers on Jan. 3, 1999.

Harris poked the ball from Rice’s hands before his knee was down and recovered the fumble, but officials ruled that Rice was down by contact.

Four plays later, 49ers quarterback Steve Young rifled the game-winning 25-yard touchdown on a post between two Packers defenders with 3 seconds remaining in a 30-27 victory.

During the offseason, NFL owners, who had rejected a new instant-replay proposal in 1997, reincarnated the technology-driven mechanism for correcting missed calls on the field, and the system remains in place today.

Harris signed with the Ravens for the 2002 season, finishing with 52 tackles and two sacks in 13 games. He made 10 starts when Ray Lewis missed time with an injured shoulder.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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