ESPN debuted new on-screen graphics for this season of Monday Night Football, and a problem was immediately apparent: The down-and-distance graphic was yellow.
That, of course, is the color of penalty flags, and the color that networks use to show when there’s a flag on the play. And ESPN puts the down-and-distance graphic in the same place on the screen as the penalty flag graphic. Which meant millions of viewers across America were saying, “Wait, was there a flag on that play? No, never mind, that’s just the down-and-distance graphic.”
Fortunately, ESPN listened to the outcry on social media and acted quickly, changing the graphic to ordinary black and white for the second half.
“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,” ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer wrote on Twitter.
It was the right move for ESPN. Those graphics might have looked pretty in a production meeting, but when watching a game, clarity is more important. The penalty flag-colored graphic was causing confusion.