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Volume 27 No. 10
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ESPN Responds Quickly To Change "MNF" Graphics Getting Bashed

ESPN changed their on-screen graphics for the second half of the Texans-Saints broadcast after a a first half "full of complaints regarding the down-and-distance marker" on screen, according to Michael Blinn of the N.Y. POST. The telecast initially featured the "brightly colored bug in the lower right-hand corner of the screen." Many viewers on social media "complained that yellow was too similar" to that of a penalty graphic. At the start of the second half, the graphic was "replaced with a black-and-white version that much more closely resembled the rest of the game info chyron" (N.Y. POST, 9/10). USA TODAY's Andrew Joseph writes the scoreboard graphic "broke the easiest rule in the book for football: Don't make the down-and-distance graphic yellow." It makes "every play look like a penalty because viewers have grown accustomed to the yellow 'flag' graphic in the past two decades of football broadcasts." To make matters "even more confusing, that box turned black for a penalty" (USA TODAY, 9/10). THE RINGER's Danny Heifetz wrote the graphic package was just the "latest in a line of inexplicable visual choices on broadcasts that are more often looking like video games" (, 9/9).

CREDIT FOR QUICK RESPONSE: YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote ESPN deserves "credit" for the quick response, as the net "didn't need a day of reflection and meetings to get it right" (, 9/9). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith noted ESPN "listened to the outcry on social media and acted quickly" (, 9/9). ESPN Senior Dir of Communications Bill Hofheimer posted the following message on Twitter during the game: "Our ESPN production team is aware of the feedback on the #MNF down and distance graphic. We have called an audible and adjusted for the 2nd half of #HOUvsNO and for the #DENvsOAK game to follow. New look pictured here."'s Jimmy Traina tweeted, "Phenomenal job by ESPN to listen to viewers and already change the color of the down/distance graphic from yellow/green/whatever to white" (, 9/9).

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? Not everyone online was upset with the down-and-distance graphic, with Fox Sports Radio's Jason Smith tweeting, "I think people complained a little too irrationally over the ESPN down & distance graphic. But maybe that's just me." Former Vice Sports editor Sean Newell: "I don’t get people complaining that the ESPN down and distance thing looks like a flag was thrown. Clearly not the same color. It’s just ugly and clashes with everything else." The Philadelphia Inquirer's Rob Tornoe: "Everyone is complaining about the yellow in ESPN's new scorebug, but it looks neon green to me. Anyone else?" (, 9/9).

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? ESPN Radio 92.9 Memphis' Jeffrey Wright asked, "How does no one raise his hand during a production meeting when the new graphics are tested, and say, 'You can’t use yellow,'?" The Ringer's Rodger Sherman: "Like 80 percent of my timeline has complained about the ESPN down and distance marker being bright yellow and therefore looking like the usual graphic for 'the ref threw a flag' and I really have no idea how multiple people looked at that and approved it" (, 9/9).