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Thursday, September 11, 2008

My thoughts on the new Monday Night Football graphics package

You can see some of ESPN's new MNF package in action here:

And this video has a statistical graphic near the end, and a one-line statistic at about midway:

I think what may have been meant by "they'll know it's a better experience. But they won't know why" was that even if people would notice the scoring bar was different, they'd only notice that most graphics were being kept out of sight if they were looking for it (perhaps because they noticed how the names of the announcers were displayed at the start of the broadcast). This would also seem to indicate an abandoning of the parallelogram in ESPN's graphics package... were it not for the fact that some parallelograms were occasionally seen on some full-screen graphics. (Peripherally, ESPN also becomes the last NFL broadcaster to add an on-field down-and-distance indicator. ESPN also lagged in displaying the down and distance on their "dashboard", apparently thinking the on-field graphic made it redundant, but I saw some complaints about having to wait too long to see the new down and distance.)

I would not be surprised if this never makes the leap outside Monday Night Football, at least on ESPN. ESPN seems to want to keep MNF special in some way, if the "orb" of previous years was any indication, and it would be difficult to fit college team names in there, at least if ESPN wanted to keep the team logos as well. ESPN's wide team logos also seems best fit for the NFL; you would probably be looking at a very different look for baseball.

I can't help but think the folks in the ESPN graphics department may be disappointed at this graphic's revolutionary potential. Ironically, the centered score display, at least as refined by NFL Network, may be the next big evolution in score graphics, thanks to the intricities of widescreen vs. standard screen display.

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