If anything it is very well designed and seems to take all the best lessons and practices of cartography into account.
What is also good in my opinion about his map over the NG one, besides the decision to not color state borders, is how he managed to keep every city label horizontal, curve-less and rarely overlapping big roads. One can also see that he managed to make all the highways easy to trace and have each highway icon exactly on the highway. That sounds trivial but I speak from experience that just doing labeling properly and consistently can be an enormous task. To have a map that is thought out down to that level of detail for the entire U.S. without having major design flaws is definitely worth something in my book.
I agree that 'crisis' is a hyperbole. But the art of cartography has been getting less and less appreciation in the last decade or two. It's been so easy to make an okay map that barely anyone takes the time anymore to craft a great map.