NFL fans have forced ESPN into a stunning mid-game change after the network debuted a yellow down-and-distance graphic on Monday Night Football.
Someone at ESPN clearly didn’t think it through.
Since Fox first started putting the score on the screen all the time in 1994, networks have gotten in the habit of alerting us when there’s a penalty flag on the play.
It usually would pop up as a bright yellow graphic where the score is listed.
In the first half of the Saints’ clash with the Texans, ESPN had that yellow tag on all the time, even when there was not a flag on the play.
And fans were not happy.
having the default color of the down and distance being yellow is unacceptable— Mike Meltser (@MikeMeltser) September 9, 2019
This yellow down and distance marker on the bottom of the screen for ESPN makes me think there's a penalty flag on every play. Who thought that was a good idea?— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) September 9, 2019
I’m glad the Down and Distance box is the exact same color as the penalty graphic. A whole game of thinking there’s a flag on every play.— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz71) September 9, 2019
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.— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) September 9, 2019
Hey @espn ... using Yellow for the down and distance animation is one of the dumbest things ever. Pick a different color.— Nate Lundy (@natelundy) September 9, 2019
Wow. Someone didn’t think this through.
Give ESPN credit, because they didn’t need a day of reflection and meetings to get it right.
It was changed after half-time, back to a normal black background and white lettering.
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. pic.twitter.com/SWLKKuW87w— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) September 10, 2019
Wait--ESPN actually changed the color of the down and distance graphic based on social media complaints during the 1st half?? Hahaha. That's hysterical. #MNF— Amy Lawrence (@ALawRadio) September 10, 2019
ESPN already changed the down and distance marker onscreen cuz everyone was tweeting about it lol— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) September 10, 2019
Saints win on late, long field-goal
Wil Lutz kicked a 58-yard field goal as time expired as the Saints defeated the Texans 30-28 in a wild season opener in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Lutz's kick came just moments after DeShaun Watson had driven the Texans 75 yards to a touchdown in two plays and gave the Saints a victory in their opener for the first time in six seasons.
The Texans' go-ahead drive began with 50 seconds left as Watson, who ran 21 yards for a second-quarter touchdown run, connected with DeAndre Hopkins, who caught two touchdown passes, for a 37-yard gain.
Watson then connected with former Saint Kenny Stills, acquired just a week earlier in a trade with Miami, for a 37-yard touchdown.
Ka'Imi Fairbairn missed the extra point, but Saints rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson roughed Fairbairn and the kicker converted on the second try to break the tie.
Brees then completed three passes for 35 yards and the Saints called their final timeout with two seconds left, bringing on Lutz, who had missed a 56-yarder on the final play of the first half.
Brees threw a 9-yard touchdown to Taysom Hill late in the third quarter and a 14-yarder to Tre'Quan Smith on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Saints rallied from a 21-10 deficit.
He completed 32 of 43 for 370 yards after throwing a red-zone interception in the first half as Houston built a 14-3 halftime lead.
Watson connected with Hopkins on scoring passes of 2 and 16 yards as he completed 20 of 30 for 268 yards.
Latavius Murray ran 30 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter and New Orleans closed within 14-10.
The Texans responded on the ensuing possession as Watson threw a 16-yard touchdown to Hopkins.
Brees answered with his touchdown pass to Hill, cutting Houston's lead to 21-17 after three quarters.
New Orleans took its first lead on Brees' touchdown to Smith and Lutz added a 47-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.