It seemed like a good idea to someone at ESPN. But football fans do not eagerly accept change when it comes to their viewing habits, and in its very first “Monday Night Football” game of the season, the network quickly found that its new down-and-distance graphic was freaking out its audience.

The graphic in the lower-right corner of the screen, which typically conveys critical information like the score, the quarter, how much time is left and the current down and distance, suddenly had a yellow bar over down and distance. The color made that information pop all right, but it also made it appear as if there had been a penalty on every single play to viewers conditioned to know that yellow means “flag.” Then the box changed to black during a penalty, and, well, nothing made any sense any more.

While it looked as if there had been a penalty called on every play, in the NFL, it’s really on, like, every third play. See?

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Unlike last season’s unpopular Jason Witten experiment, there was a quick fix at halftime because ESPN was reading Twitter.

“Our ESPN production team is aware of the feedback on the #MNF down and distance graphic,” Bill Hofheimer, who oversees ESPN public relations for Monday night games, the NFL and pro sports, tweeted. “We have called an audible and adjusted for the second half of the #HouvsNO and for the #DENvsOAK game to follow.”

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