ESPN creeps everyone out with ‘nightmare fuel’ Christian McCaffrey graphic on MNF


Monday night’s game in Mexico City couldn’t have gone much better for the 49ers, barely breaking a sweat in a game that saw Jimmy Garoppolo tie a career-high by throwing four touchdown passes, two each to Brandon Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle. San Francisco’s 38-10 rout of Arizona, the latter playing without starting quarterback Kyler Murray (still nursing a hamstring injury suffered in Week 9), was never in doubt, running the Niners’ win streak to three while unseating Seattle atop the NFC West at 6-4.

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Armed with one of the most potent skill groups in football, the 49ers have the look of a legitimate Super Bowl contender, appearing all but unstoppable since acquiring Christian McCaffrey from the Panthers in a blockbuster trade last month. And while San Francisco’s ascendance is sure to be explored at length in the coming days, a more detailed analysis will have to come at a later date, with Twitter still scarred by one of the strangest graphics you’ll ever see.

ESPN’s heart seemed to be in the right place, paying homage to the iconic 90s sitcom Full House, which, if you recall, was set in San Francisco. However, the final product left much to be desired with social media predictably roasting the worldwide leader for a failed concept that, by all accounts, should have been left on the cutting-room floor. Critics were particularly unsettled by McCaffrey’s computer-animated likeness, looking like something out of a Tim Burton fever dream or an unusually bleak Pixar movie.

Though not especially well-liked, ESPN’s elaborate MNF graphics, more often than not, serve their intended purpose, creating another vehicle for viral content in the network’s ongoing arms race with Fox, NBC, CBS, Turner and Amazon, among other competitors in the sports media space. In a certain sense, ESPN has gamed the system, discovering that ambitious failures—and this unhinged display would certainly qualify as that—tend to garner more engagement on Twitter and YouTube. We’ll see what nightmare fuel ESPN’s production staff cooks up for next week’s showdown between the Colts and Steelers in Indianapolis.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images