Posted December 08, 2013

Jeff Triplette makes another weird call, and the Colts are the victims this time

AFC North, AFC South, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts
Jeff Triplette's calls have had many people wondering what the heck is going on out there.

Jeff Triplette’s calls have had many people wondering what the heck is going on out there. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

There’s no question that the NFL has had an officiating problem all season. More than ever, crews are making strange calls, and more than ever, VP of Officiating Dean Blandino has to go on the NFL Network and explain how yet another crew blew another call. Many believe that the ever-increasing complexity of the league’s rule book is the culprit, but there are also times when a ref just loses his bearings and completely blows a call despite having all the time and technology anyone could ask for at his disposal.

And more often than not, when that happens, the referee in question will be one Jeff Triplette, who has been a professional referee since 1999, and a game official since 1996. This despite his  long and undistinguished history of mauling calls that more qualified officials would nail nine times out of 10.

Triplette’s latest victim was the Indianapolis Colts, who were playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon in a game that had serious playoff seeding implications for both teams. Putting a guy like Triplette in charge of such a game is like having Deputy Dawg guard the Mona Lisa, but the NFL will do what it does. With 1:14 left in the first half, Bengals running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis took the ball at the Indianapolis 1-yard line, and though he came close the end zone, the replay official ruled that Green-Ellis fell short of the score.

Green-Ellis certainly appeared to be tripped by Colts defensive tackle Josh Chapman at the Indianapolis 4-yard line, and though he made a football move after that, he lost his footing, and it looked as if his knee was down before the ball crossed the plane of the end zone. Triplette went under the hood and botched the call as only he can.

It would be excusable if this had been a bang-bang-play, but Triplette was able to rewatch the play for a good long time (at least as long as it would take to watch half of a Hee-Haw episode). After the replay consultation, Triplette came back out to the field and made his ruling:

“After review, the ruling on the field is reversed. The runner was not touched, and [went] into the end zone. It is a touchdown.”

Former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereiera, now an analyst for FOX Sports, was not impressed.

Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, who were calling the game for CBS, appeared to be as confused as everybody else.

“Are you kidding me? Not touched?” Gumbel asked in amazement. “What did he think he tripped on back there?”

It’s a common question for this particular official. If the NFL has decided to dock the Steelers a draft pick based on Mike Tomlin’s sideline shenanigans because it could affect the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff picture, what should the league do to Triplette? He’s done playoff games before, so it’s pretty clear that whatever downgrading system is in place for officials doesn’t apply in this case. TheMMQB’s Peter King, who did a marvelous series on Gene Steratore’s crew that ran last week, has as much respect for the tough jobs officials have as anybody.

What did Peter think of Triplette’s call?

Exactly. It’s also disgraceful and indefensible when referees who are clearly not qualified to do their jobs are allowed to keep doing them.

After the game, Triplette tried to explain the reversal, and just created more confusion (via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star).

29 comments
djm4672
djm4672

I haven't bet a Triplette game in years and have no intention to change that position.

MichaelMcNally
MichaelMcNally

It's obvious the bookies have gotten to this guy.

dwb_alpha
dwb_alpha

The league keeps these guys around so almighty Bill Belichick will have someone to blame when the Patriots lose, because it's never their fault.


Seriously though, the league needs to do away with replay and let the players decide the games, not the officials.  There was no replay in football for years, and the calls were more accurate than they are today with all these replays.  And every time a receiver doesn't catch a ball, the receiver and every member of the team makes the same boo-hoo face and does the hand motion for throwing a flag.  The NFL is nothing but a bunch of crybabies now.  Thank goodness Deacon Jones isn't around to see this debacle.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

No doubt Peter King will be right on the case, telling us what a great guy and a hard worker Triplette is.  (Then PK will add a plug for an unpopular tablet and PK's coffee of the week.)

AlexDelarge
AlexDelarge

Dean Blanddio and Goodell should be the firsts one fired or resign, the VP of officiating is as incompetent as the ones on the field. The officiating this season ranks very closely to the replacement officiating of 2012. Sadly the powers that be either don't really care or truly don't have a clue. These very poor performances are happening across the league. Granted officiating is mostly  judgement calls, but the basic tenant of officiating is if you don't see it, you can't call it. But this is happening frequently!  Some teams are getting the benefit of every close call. A lot of botched calls after reviewing the replays numerous times and angles. Until fans quit showing up and paying a good deal of money nothing with ever change!

anmccall
anmccall

I've been convinced that Triplette is either a crooked ref, a horrible ref or possible both a crooked and horrible ref ever since I saw him make probably the most bizarre call I've ever seen in New Orleans a couple of years ago. New Orleans was on their own 2 yard line and Atlanta's John Abraham came on a speed rush, beat the Tackle and literally was tackled before he could sack Drew Brees for a safety. The flag was thrown for what everyone in the building saw was holding in the endzone which would have resulted in a safety and Atlanta getting the ball. One thing about this night though, it was a Monday Night Football game and Drew Brees was going for Marino's single season passing record and was short by just a few yards. A safety would have meant Atlanta getting the ball with just a few mins left in the game, and Brees having to break the record on the road at Carolina the next week in front of a regional audience. Jeff Triplette's solution was to explain that "the flag was being picked up because it was a screen play (it wasn't, and what would that matter anyway?) and the block was a shed block (and not a tackle around the ankles, your eyes were just playing tricks on you)". The Saints retained possession, and Brees broke the record on primetime television and Triplette got to be a part of history. 


The man is a crook and I gringe whenever I see him calling my team's game.

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

Triplette needs to be fired. Not at the end of the season. Today. I assume he used to be competent enough to officiate in the NFL. He's proven those days are in his rearview mirror.  We're not just talking about close judgment calls. The down debacle last week, and now handing the Bengals a touchdown. Whether or not that play changed the outcome of the game, when a team wins by two TDs and one is totally due to a blown call, you can't say the Bengals would have still prevailed by 1 TD. Different game.


Triplette need to go. Now.

iBolski
iBolski

One other question. What about his knees being down on the ground? Doesn't THAT count for something? His knees were clearing on the ground BEFORE he started sliding forward and BEFORE the ball broke the plane of the goal line.


Doesn't THAT account for something? I mean, if he fumbled it, would Triplette have reviewed it and stated his knees were on the ground therefore, ut's NOT a fumble? Or, is that only if contact was made? And maybe that's what Triplette was saying?


If he decided to ignore the supposed "swipe" at his foot, then I guess it SORTA makes sense. Yet, the one rule on instance replay is:


"Indisputable, inconclusive evidence is needed to overturn a call"


Well, the call was no td - down by contact. There was NOT indisputable, inconclusive evidence.


Shame on you, Jeff.

iBolski
iBolski

I don't blame the call being the reason the Colts lost. Colts shot themselves in the foot on D and the O took too long to get going (once again).


However, how much longer can this man keep a job? Two weeks in a row he's blown the call. In fact, he apparently blew ANOTHER call in the Colts/Bengals game where supposedly Dalton did intentional grounding. The replay PROVED he was within the box yet, Triplette said he was outside of the box, so no intentional grounding. 


Tomlin get's fined, plus they lose a draft pick because he could have caused the Ravens to lose a possible playoff spot? Yet, Triplette has made even MORE egregious calls in the past that have affected the outcome of a game and yet, you never hear anything about them getting fined, reprimanded, etc. Yet, the league HAS to ensure that player/coach infractions are made public ASAP.


Why protect the refs? I understand they are human, but Triplette has proven time and time again that he is more prone to error than any other human. He makes the weirdest calls.


When you have Dierdorf and Gumble and the entire half-time reporting crew going off on this, with Boomer saying he should be fired, then you KNOW something is wrong.


The league needs to address this immediately.


#FireTripletteNow!

chaotic
chaotic

Jeff Triplette...   ...why is he still a ref?

Refs aren't supposed to make headlines.  He does it all the time.

It's time for him to go back to his day job - and stay there.


StevedeKater
StevedeKater

The problem as I see it is there wasn't sufficient evidence to overturn the call, which I don't really think was disputed by anyone.  Had the original call been a touchdown, it might have been easy to make a case to overturn THAT call, based on looking at the replay.  The original call was no TD; I saw nothing in the replay that warranted the play being overturned.  Although it was not clear watching the replay, something caused the runner to go down; due to the proximity of the defensive players, it can be safely assumed that at least one of them made the slightest bit of contact causing the stumble and the contact with the ground.

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

This guy is developing a history of making the wrong call.

shlomo.fishelis
shlomo.fishelis

this is what happens when the league locks out officials hoping to get leverage on them to replace bad ones, and the universe of NFL followers (media and fans) have an uproar over a couple of bad calls (the likes of which are weekly from the regular refs) causing the league to cave

After in a business need to keep the customers happy 

ILoveMyWife
ILoveMyWife

The video the article provides does not show one way or the other.  Perhaps a sideline view would have been better?

And if we're talking about blown calls, how about the Browns fumble on the first possession that would have let to a Patriots TD?  Instead, the Browns get a FG.  And that one was obvious to the naked eye.  That game had huge playoff implications.



NEsports27
NEsports27

I realize I'll be in the vast minority here but I actually disagree with the original call, at least from this angle.  Even if there was contact it was incidental at best, and it's hard to argue a fingertip graze as a legit tackle.  That being said, you need clear proof to overturn a call and since there is none Triplette had no business overturning it on something this ambiguous.

JohnnyDee1
JohnnyDee1

Officiating in the NFL is a complete disaster...Too many guys that can't keep up with the speed of the game...It's time that the NFL ditch guys like Jeff Triplette, Ed Hochuli, and just about 75% of the officials...Look across the league this week alone...Take replay out of the game...And these guys get 70-80% of the close ones rights...but this week was bad...New England wins because of a piss-poor PI call in the end zone...The Ravens won because of a poor PI call...Here's the issue...Keep dopes like Mike Pereira off TV...if you worked in the NFL front office, you should not be on TV...If you were or are an official...Stay off TV...If you are an official and can't get your calls right...You should be dismissed...There are plenty of hungry officials that are younger and better that deserve their shot...I get it that calls are going to be missed...There should be some recourse to fix it...Especially, when the call is so blatantly wrong that a novice can tell the call was wrong...

darkrist
darkrist

I will not be watching the NFL as long as Jeff Triplette is in it!

Natsnatsnats
Natsnatsnats

Even on this short loop, you can see Green-Ellis' left foot come down funny, right after #96 swipes at him.  The quality here isn't good enough to freeze it exactly at the point of contact, but I can't come up with any other reason why his foot would break stride and come up so short/out of step like that. 

s7920
s7920

The knees being down has nothing to do with it since that was ruled on the field already.  The question is whether or not he was touched.  If he wasn't touched than it doesn't matter if his knee hit before crossing the goal line.  He could roll or crawl in to the endzone if he wanted to and it wouldn't matter as long as he wasn't touched.  Of course he WAS obviously touched which caused him to trip and be down before the goal line which is the whole issue here.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

Exactly.  When replacement refs made mistakes, the media foamed at the mouth and beat it to death.  The regular refs, the media says, meh, nothing to see here, folks, these guys are awesome professionals -- move on.

s7920
s7920

Doesn't matter if he tapped him on the shoulder and it had nothing to do with why he fell.  Rules say he was down.  I think Triplette was mistakenly looking at whether or not #52 touched him at the goal line which is much less obvious but still not conclusive enough to overturn the original call.

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

@NEsports27 He tripped him with his hand. It doesn't take much for someone to lose his balance. The Colt caused the runner to lose his balance and hit the ground short of the goal line. Simple.

Jimmyfootball
Jimmyfootball

@NEsports27 By rule a touch followed by knee touching the ground is a tackle. Incidental or not does not matter.

ILoveMyWife
ILoveMyWife

The Pats LOST because of a piss poor non-PI call.

The_Hybrid
The_Hybrid

@JohnnyDee1I don't get the case you're making about Mike Pereira staying off TV. He did his time with the NFL, now he's got a different paying job consulting for the network. Why should he stay off TV?

The_Hybrid
The_Hybrid

@darkristThere ya go. There's the solution. You never watching NFL games until he leaves will make so much of an impact. I'm sure the NFL will get the message.


nbajam
nbajam

@ILoveMyWife Earlier this season, the Pats WON because of a blatant missed holding call