While most viewers have long been used to different ways of calling out individual players and directions on the field—telestrator, anyone?—broadcasts have recently turned to putting concentric circles or icons beneath players to highlight them. It seems to borrow from a certain video-game convention: Drawing concentric circles beneath athletes’s feet to convey you are controlling this character.

Murray and Young weren’t sure how long Madden had been calling out players with icons beneath their feet, but they thought it went back a long time. Such a technique also isn’t limited to Madden alone: I know I’ve played role-playing fantasy games where control was indicated with sub-podal icons.

Both men added to that player icons are just one facet of how players are highlighted now. For a couple years, they said, Madden has been attaching graphics “on-screen” to players as they move around the field. In replays during half-time shows, or just after commercial breaks, they said, they’re beginning to see broadcasts do something similar.