Posted January 04, 2014

NFL confuses everyone by assigning Jeff Triplette to Cincinnati-San Diego game

Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers
He's back and he's proud! Somehow, Jeff Triplette made the postseason. (Getty Images)

He’s back and he’s proud! Somehow, Jeff Triplette made the postseason. (Getty Images)

The NFL says it grades officials on every play and assigns postseason games on merit. The perception of that modus operandi took a big hit this week, when it was announced that Jeff Triplette would be the referee for Sunday’s wild-card game between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Triplette’s assignment was confounding because while he may have graded out acceptably on a play-by-play basis, his high-profile blunders were notable and numerous even in a season that has been pretty rough for all the zebras. Triplette’s crew blew the down and the clock management late in the New York Giants’ 24-17 win over the Washington Redskins on Dec. 1, and the very next week, he and his replay official mangled a scoring play by Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis that should not have been a touchdown.

As a result of Triplette’s general ineptitude, current NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino has been taking extra time on the NFL Network to try to explain exactly what Triplette was doing. That seems necessary as Triplette appears unable to explain it himself. And it’s not just a couple of outlier calls — Triplette has a long history of being in over his head.

Former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira, now a rules analyst for FOX Sports, told FOX’s Curt Menefee this week that Triplette’s postseason graduation seemed odd to him as well. Pereira pointed out that while the league no longer advances full officiating crews to the playoffs, at least three members of each regular-season crew will work together now.

“I am surprised, and I say that especially in Cincinnati, because if you look at Jeff Triplette, you go back to Week 13 — his crew was the crew that lost track of the down in the New York Giants-Washington game,” Pereira recalled. “And then you go to this play [the Green-Ellis play] with Cincinnati — I mean, this was a play that was ruled short and down short of the goal line. They reversed it to a touchdown, and did not look at the contact that occurred at the five-yard line. Yet, Triplette still has Cincinnati in the wild-card [round]? And he has the same replay official that’s going to accompany him to this game? That, to me, doesn’t make sense, and I wouldn’t have assigned it that way.”

When Blandino was explaining the missed illegal formation penalty in the Week 17 game between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs that helped San Diego into the tournament (a call blown by Bill Leavy’s crew, not Triplette’s), he tried to insist that such mistakes stick with the officials in question.

“Officials are evaluated just like players are, and this type of a mistake sticks with this official,” Blandino told the NFL Network on Dec. 31. “It will affect any potential postseason assignment, so we take all these things into consideration.”

As Menefee pointed out to Pereira, there were so many overall officiating mistakes this season, it’s actually feasible to believe that Triplette and his crew graded higher than several others. Which is an interesting example of the Peter Principle in action. We can only wait to see if Triplette bungles yet another key call in a playoff game where every little thing means even more. It seems inexcusable that a league which trumpets its own accountability at every turn would so cavalierly put a repeat offender in charge of an elimination game — and if there’s another “Triplette-esque” incident, the league risks serious questions about its own transparency, and its ability to manage its product.

83 comments
ApostasyUSA
ApostasyUSA

Oh please! When do we get to admit that the NFl is a terrible sport.   The rules are impossible to officiate and too often officiating gets the calls on important plays wrong.  Also, the officiating often determines the outcomes of games and when the teams are only playing 16 games a season the outcomes of the season can be determined by bad calls or just no calls at all.  Let admit that this isn't a real sport, get the officials off the field and let the fans get back to focusing on what we really like about the sport; watching poor kids get injured for life for our entertainment.

Like when I watch the Seahawks, it's like watching what a bunch of guy on speed will do to their opponent to win.  Or like the watching the Patriots is like watching how a team, who's owner basically owns the NFL, is somehow on the better end of every call on the field.  Your quarterback gets hit, no flag, but blow a kiss at tom "tuck" brady and three flags come out and someone gets kicked out of the game.

The players are modern day gladiators. Get the officials off the field, they only ruin the fun. Ask any owner or player and they will tell you that this is a business.  It's about money and that's it.  It's not about fairness in sports.  

drumcircler1
drumcircler1

Losers look for alibis before the game. Whine.

rodwms101
rodwms101

A couple of years ago there was all this clamor for the "real" or "regular" refs but I maintained then as I do now that the replacements hadn't done any worse than these guys.  If nothing else, it seemed that their mistakes were at least evenhanded whereas certain players, mainly the highest profile QB's, are overprotected by the regular guys creating an unfair advantage when the opponents don't have a marquee guy.  Give me the replacements anytime and make them full-time especially if they're younger and more fit as the they need to be able to keep up with a faster, stronger, more complex game that will get one of them seriously injured or potentially killed...     

DonQuick
DonQuick

we live in an era when being bad at your job gets you promoted in a liberal pro sports controlled America they want everyone to have equal chances so no one gets hurt felelings, that's why every child in a pee wee sports team gets a trophy, next they will stop keeping score.

DonQuick
DonQuick

you may want to find out what team owner voted Democrat could impact the game...just sayin...

DonQuick
DonQuick

the same Referee crew who robbed the Vikings in the Vikings Ravens game,but this ripoff make sense since Obama gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Ravens owner to promote Obamacare.

ColeBuzdon
ColeBuzdon

the so called fumble by g. bernard at the end of the first half, was not a catch and then fumble. Watch it live not is slow mo. Then, the so called catch by greisham to set up the fg at the end of the half, was not a catch. thats all you need to know. I was screaming at the tv and im not a fan of either tv

pscottparker10231955
pscottparker10231955

This moron with a twang should have been fired after giving the Bengals a t.d. against the Colts despite clear evidence that the running back was down BY CONTACT at the 1 yard line.  Everybody with intact vision and a working cranium could see that, but somehow his f----ed up team missed it.  Changed the whole complexion of the game and, IMO, took a potential 'W' away from the Colts.  Fire him, yesterday, and his entire crew, too.

tlhrtp
tlhrtp

First thing my wife said was "How did he not get fired?"  Then we had to sit through the magical bs Triplette threw out to explain WHY it was a catch (Really, forward progress was stopped? It sure wasn't called.


RickDesper
RickDesper

Sure enough, Triplette botched the review of a pass play at the end of the first half, bizarrely letting the Bengals spike the clock dead, then reviewing the previous play.  After the review, he simply pretended the spike had never happened.  


How does this guy have a job, much less a playoff assignment?

mr300800gt
mr300800gt

eds crew is one of the worst how come the 49ers never get called for holding

bcolabove
bcolabove

why wasn't Gree-Ellis utilized more in this game today

RyanMayer
RyanMayer

The fix is in. Only reason to watch the game is too find out which team was predetermined to advance.

TerryWelsh
TerryWelsh

Looks like the Chargers will win for sure now. The refs need a digital ref on the sidelines going over each play. A ref that isn't attached at the hip to the rest of the team. If it slows the hurry up offenses than so be it. To many times refs take the wind from teams with bad calls. They aren't super human, so let the camera's make the final calls.

darkrist
darkrist

The NFL decided to use him to stoke contoversy that feeds their "24 hour news cycle" . That is why I no longer watch their product. It isnt about the game it is about marketing......

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

Keep an eye on the SF GB game, Hochuli is a packers lover and likes to baby Rodgers. Watch for a couple crucial roughing the passer & pass interference calls to keep GB in the game.

NebojsaTodorovic
NebojsaTodorovic

Something about Triplette's southern twang is so disarming that you can imagine him being a friend.  Unfortunately he is the friend that borrows your car and wrecks it.

JamesMichaelMercik
JamesMichaelMercik

The fundamental, primal goal of all officials is to be as invisible as possible i.e. manage to create a game environment that allows the players' performance (and not the officials) to dictate the outcome of the game.  This guy &his crew have become poster-children for the "Let's Allow The Officials to Dictate The Outcome Of The Game" school of thought.  ... Skip the analysis... If he were doing his job right, we would not even know this guys name. 

son of lee
son of lee

Nice job Cary Williams. The same guy that earned himself a Super Bowl ejection by beating on the ref last year, is involved with more costly playoff blunders. Horse collar to set up The saints with great field position on the final drive.

Iowa
Iowa

While have appreciated some insight from people like Mike Pereira, it's gone far enough. I don't need an official critiquing officials on every broadcast. Football broadcasts have become more obsessed with analyzing if every call is right rather than just analyzing the play of the players themselves. Officials make errors, and so does every player on the field. Would rather hear about the players' errors than the officials.

badcyclist1
badcyclist1

No one cares about the refs, and this would be a complete non story, except Farrar thinks that he has found a little reporter's niche by slamming individual officials.  It's pretty small-minded, and this article is just gratuitously nasty.  I am embarrassed that I read it, but I won't repeat my mistake.

oneiron
oneiron

I would wager that in most games the officials get at least several calls wrong that affect the outcome of the game.

CJ101
CJ101

Pictured above...Triplette screwing over Schwartz and the Lions. Schwartz gets fired, Lions miss playoffs, Triplette gets rewarded.

Scramble
Scramble

Give two teams not going anywhere a referee not going anywhere.

DH1
DH1

Business as usual

6marK6
6marK6

oooops!!! I mean, yeah, we meant to pick him.

son of lee
son of lee

Lombardi count sans incompetent/ shady refs:

Seahawks 1

Stealers 5

Niners 6

Murderbirds 1

manniefaces
manniefaces

Proof the NFl wants the Bengals and Dalton aka. Red Rocket to win it all. ;)

RCH
RCH

@TerryWelsh Triplette's last screw up actually was in the Bengals favor so not sure what you mean there.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@darkrist But you follow it on lame sites like si.com and feel the need to comment on it. Too funny. The NFL is a great product, too bad for you that you can't get over yourself enough to enjoy it. See ya!

son of lee
son of lee

At least this time he's punished for being a mindless idiot out there.

AlainLapointe
AlainLapointe

Translation :Continue your bad officiating , it's good for the game ?

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@badcyclist1 Perhaps if SI had some sort of grading system, or some 'real' writers weighed in on their hack 'journalism' we wouldn't have to read this trash. 

Iowa
Iowa

@badcyclist1 Right on. This is a non-story. Despite what internet writers want to think-the same people who enjoy pointing out every referee mistake they think is important because they expect perfection out of everyone but themselves-the NFL's grading system for officials is far more deep than just whether or not you got a few high-profile plays right or wrong. Without seeing the complete evaluations, have no place criticizing how the NFL assigns officials for these games.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@CJ101 You're an idiot homer. The Lions managed to screw themselves over, and specifically your QB, Matt "I don't need to learn anything else because I just do it my way' Stafford.

mwr5053
mwr5053

@CJ101 If you are/were a Lions fan I'd think you wanted Schwartz fired. He was awful controlling his team the past few years. So much raw talent but lousy results.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@manniefacesAnd why would the NFL want this versus any other team winning the Lombardi Trophy?

TerryWelsh
TerryWelsh

@Joebuckster@ElvisHitler Hochuliis a game changer for Green Bay. Its like he has stock in the Packer organization. I can't believe they would let him be near a Green Bay game let alone ref it. He stole games from Chicago and Detroit many times, and now he will try to steal one from the 49ers.