When ESPN rolled out a new Monday Night Football scorebug in 2019, the immediate complaint was the yellow background on the down and distance part of the graphic. Many people thought that the yellow was throwing them off, thinking there was a flag on every play.
The same thing is happening during Friday’s Rose Bowl between Alabama and Notre Dame, with the down and distance being given a gold background.
Here’s the Rose Bowl scorebug, with the briefly-used MNF scorebug from last year below.
Unfortunately, I can’t show you what the penalty indicator looks like, because the first half was a penalty-free affair.
(UPDATE: there was finally a flag midway through the third quarter, and here’s what that looks like)
I get what ESPN was trying to do here. Gold makes plenty of sense given the stakes of this game (and the Sugar Bowl later on Friday). And while gold is an upgrade over neon yellow, it’s still a little too similar when fans are conditioned to look for yellow on the scorebug when there’s a flag on the play.