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Triplette gives poor explanation of Sunday night first-down screw-up

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As we learned two weeks ago tonight, a bad explanation from a referee can be even worse than a bad call.

After Sunday night’s “first down . . . psyche!” maneuver, referee Jeff Triplette provided a confusing and incomplete explanation to pool reporter Zac Boyer of the Washington Times.

“We signaled third down on the field,” Triplette said, via the transcript circulated by the Redskins.  “The stakes were moved incorrectly.  After that play, we said it was still third down.  We had signaled third down prior to the play starting.  The stakes just got moved incorrectly.”

No big deal. The stakes got moved incorrectly.  You know, the stakes everyone relies on when determining down and distance.  The same stakes that then had to be clumsily repositioned one play later.

It gets worse.  Triplette said he didn’t call a time out to fix the obvious blunder because stopping the clock would have helped Washington too much.

“[T]here are no timeouts in this situation,” Triplette said.  “We just didn’t shut it down in that situation because that would have given an unfair advantage.”

So instead of giving a potential unfair advantage to Washington, Triplette gave the home team a clear unfair disadvantage, by leading everyone falsely to believe that a first down had been gained, via the giant orange stakes shuttling down the sideline.

Triplette also was unable to address coach Mike Shanahan’s contention that one of the other officials told Shanahan that a first down had been gained.

“I can’t respond to that,” Triplette said.  “I don’t know what happened.  I just know that we had signaled third down on the play at the sideline, made it third down.”

Sorry, Jeff.  But that’s not nearly good enough.  You’re the spokesman for the crew in that setting.  If you don’t know whether one of your colleagues told Shanahan that a first down had been earned, you need to go find out and then continue the interview.

So, yes, the crew committed a clear blunder by telling the sticks to move when they shouldn’t have moved.  And Triplette made it worse by failing to fully embrace or explain the error, essentially taking the position that no mistake was made because third down was signaled on the field.

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46 Responses to “Triplette gives poor explanation of Sunday night first-down screw-up”
  1. gallopinggilmore says: Dec 2, 2013 9:25 AM

    I still can’t believe that along with this, the Giants were only called for one small penalty the entire game.

  2. dstroi says: Dec 2, 2013 9:35 AM

    So when are the referee’s going to be held accountable for their mistakes? Honestly? Roger Goodell has no problem handing out fines to coaches and players but when referee’s make blunders week in and week out, the “mistakes” get swept under the rug along with the dust mites. Jeff Triplette has to be kidding with that explanation. Yes Washington had opportunities through the course of the game but that still does not negate the fact that a missed call should have been called regardless if the Giants were up by 30! Let the blunders continue.

  3. weareluckytohavemikeflorio says: Dec 2, 2013 9:36 AM

    Jeff Triplette is living proof that the NFL doesnt want full time officials nor for them to be held accountable. This chump has been a Ref in the NFL for 15 yrs or so and has some of the worst calls in memory. He even blinded a player by throwning the bean bag right into his eye!!! (zeus brown Ravens).
    Guys like this and Jerome Bogar make the NFL look like pathetic idiots when they talk about wantingto improve the product etc.
    Start improving the product by getting some competent officials to run NFL games

  4. cruuuzcontrol says: Dec 2, 2013 9:38 AM

    … Except for the fact that Triplette is right. I think he’s easily the NFL’s worst referee, but the only person who screwed up was the chain gang. You can clearly see on the replay the side judge flash three fingers signaling third down… And that side judge was right on the Slurs sideline. And the ball was well short of the line-to-gain… No measurement was necessary. In the last two minutes of a close game, it would be hard for the officials to essentially give the Slurs an extra time out to make sure everyone is on the right page. It looks like a mess, but it didn’t really do any damage. The Slurs had great opportunities to move down the field on two consecutive plays and they screwed up on both of them with a drop and a fumble. Boo hoo.

  5. pooflingingmonkey says: Dec 2, 2013 9:38 AM

    I don’t know why the NFL doesn’t hire full time, younger (more athletic) professional officials?

    Today, we have a bunch of insurance agents and lawyers in their fifties trying to officiate a game that moves really fast.

    I think it’s time for the NFL to upgrade it’s referees.

  6. rawbbqsauce says: Dec 2, 2013 9:39 AM

    Here come my fellow Skins fans to use this as yet another example of Goodell and Mara conspiring to do anything to keep our team down.

  7. djstat says: Dec 2, 2013 9:40 AM

    Let’s ignore that the Redkins got help too. Garcone was called for delay of game when he should have had a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct on his kick. Or the fact thatthe Redskins held almost every play. I seem to recall Will Beaty got a holding call for 10 yards, the giants had false starts etc. If Garcone doesn’t get stripped of the ball on the next play you had the first down anyway. Stuff happens. You were still losing and no guarantee to win. RG 3 & 9 for life

  8. richardcolvinreid says: Dec 2, 2013 9:40 AM

    Good old Goodell and Mara magic at work.

  9. sbaltimore says: Dec 2, 2013 9:41 AM

    Week after week these refs keep acting like total bozos.

  10. nolahxc says: Dec 2, 2013 9:41 AM

    It’s almost like these referees are out there week after week trying to one-up one another. The problems with the referees are getting way worse.

  11. bigmikeskinsfan says: Dec 2, 2013 9:43 AM

    this has nothing to do with the Skins losing the game or whether you love/hate them. The refs are clearly “taking over” games and deciding outcomes when they shouldn’t be.

    hey cruuuuuzcontrol, the chains were moved because a ref told them to move and the marker on the side went from 3 to 1. that right there leaves no doubt that it was a first down..you know, until they moved it from 1 to 4.

  12. 2manyconcussions says: Dec 2, 2013 9:44 AM

    At least we now know the blame can be squarely placed on those guys who hold the stakes. Somehow they just mistakenly moved them. It just happened. Fortunately, being the observant refs that they are, they corrected it on the next play. Move along…nothing to see here.

  13. pastabelly says: Dec 2, 2013 9:45 AM

    “I can’t respond to that,” Triplette said. “I don’t know what happened”
    =================================
    He didn’t know what happened. That could be a problem. He should apologize for not being in control of the game.

  14. bbillsfan01 says: Dec 2, 2013 9:51 AM

    These were the idiots who had the balls to strike last year? This year they’ve certainly showed how much better it is with them in charge…..

  15. draftazoid says: Dec 2, 2013 9:54 AM

    I firmly believe the NFL Referee’s are the worst Officials of any sport.
    Why do we have about 200 college games a week and they do not mess up to the degree the NFL Referee’s do?
    The Eagle/Cardinal Referee’s looked like they have Eagle t-shirts under their Uniforms at the last part of the game. And I do not like either team.
    The NFL needs to go to Macy’s to get their Referee’s instead of Walmart.

  16. draftazoid says: Dec 2, 2013 9:57 AM

    Your article forgot the fact that Shanahan was told by another referee that it was first down.

  17. eatitfanboy says: Dec 2, 2013 9:59 AM

    2manyconcussions says:
    Dec 2, 2013 9:44 AM
    At least we now know the blame can be squarely placed on those guys who hold the stakes. Somehow they just mistakenly moved them. It just happened. Fortunately, being the observant refs that they are, they corrected it on the next play. Move along…nothing to see here.

    Except for the part where a coach calls a completely different play for 1st and 10, which is what the Redskin Potatoes thought it was, that 3rd and 1, which it was. Thinking it was 1st and 10, they took a shot downfield, which they wouldn’t have otherwise.

  18. davidtmp says: Dec 2, 2013 10:05 AM

    Here is what I saw on the replay…..The official on the far side of the field looked like he spotted the ball closer to the line to gain. When the ball was spotted, the official used the judge on the near side of the field to spot the ball short of the line to gain. THAT judge told the chains to move, then held up 3 fingers for third down.

  19. ijahru says: Dec 2, 2013 10:13 AM

    The Redskins lost the game on a great defensive play. They converted for a first down so the officials mistake had no bearing on the outcome regardless of how outraged Al Michaels got.

  20. sactogary says: Dec 2, 2013 10:14 AM

    eatitfanboy says: Dec 2, 2013 9:59 AM

    2manyconcussions says:
    Dec 2, 2013 9:44 AM
    At least we now know the blame can be squarely placed on those guys who hold the stakes. Somehow they just mistakenly moved them. It just happened. Fortunately, being the observant refs that they are, they corrected it on the next play. Move along…nothing to see here.

    Except for the part where a coach calls a completely different play for 1st and 10, which is what the Redskin Potatoes thought it was, that 3rd and 1, which it was. Thinking it was 1st and 10, they took a shot downfield, which they wouldn’t have otherwise.
    ===============
    You should adjust your sarcasm filter.

  21. gbrim says: Dec 2, 2013 10:15 AM

    Anyone who watched the Jags/Cards game a couple of weeks ago saw Triplette’s entire crew perform incompetently all game. Errors included reviewing a play that isn’t reviewable, and a ref misplacing his whistle after the Cards called a timeout. The resulting play (a Palmer interception) was wiped out because the Cards had properly called a timeout, but the ref couldn’t signal anyone because of his misplaced whistle. There were numerous other less important head-shaking calls and non-calls. Every game has some of these, but Triplette’s crew is the worst in the league, by far. Time to retire him and any of his crew members that are equally dismal.

  22. bleedgreen says: Dec 2, 2013 10:24 AM

    bbillsfan01 says:
    Dec 2, 2013 9:51 AM
    These were the idiots who had the balls to strike last year? This year they’ve certainly showed how much better it is with them in charge…..
    ———————

    Please don’t comment if you don’t know what you’re talking about. The refs did NOT STRIKE. They were LOCKED OUT by the NFL. The contract expired. The refs said they wouldn’t negotiate until the current deal expired, so its partially their fault, but the NFL is the one that caused it by locking the refs out. Not the other way around.

    With that said, the replacement refs did just as good of a job, and were improving last year. The whole argument wasn’t getting it right, but how long it took the replacement refs vs the real refs to get the right call. Unfortunately, MULTIPLE times this year and last in just the Philly games and primetime games that I watch, the ‘real’ refs are bumbling and don’t know what or why to call what they’re calling. The NFL needs to do something, but I’m afraid they’re handcuffed now that they got a new deal done last year.

  23. shayap says: Dec 2, 2013 10:27 AM

    I was at the game and am nearly 100% sure I saw a ref go behind the qb and signal first down with his arm outstretched. otherwise I have no idea what that ref was doing with his arm outstretched. can probably find video evidence of it somewhere. Perhaps I was just seeing things but didn’t think it was a first until I saw that.

  24. raypinpillage says: Dec 2, 2013 10:28 AM

    cruuuzcontrol says: Dec 2, 2013 9:38 AM

    “You can clearly see on the replay the side judge flash three fingers signaling third down… And that side judge was right on the Slurs sideline.”
    —————————————-

    You can also clearly see the chains move and the down marker set at 1. So, Im not really sure what your point is. If half of the officiating crew thinks its 1st down and the other think its 3rd down, there is clearly a problem.

  25. getyourownname says: Dec 2, 2013 10:39 AM

    Yes, it was a terrible blunder, although I don’t believe it changed the ultimate outcome.

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t pft quick to hop on the snarky “the regular refs need to come back right away” bandwagon last season?

  26. cursedvikings1998 says: Dec 2, 2013 10:40 AM

    Jeff Triplette isn’t just incompetent, he’s positively corrupt! He cooks games on a regular basis for teams he likes.

    He should have been axed a long, long time ago.

  27. drbob117 says: Dec 2, 2013 10:41 AM

    Same guy that messed up a coin toss(!) on Thanksgiving years ago. They should never let this guy ref on Thanksgiving weekend. Must be the tryptophan .

  28. nebster21 says: Dec 2, 2013 10:45 AM

    lets make sure Tripplete does not get any unfair advantage and FIRE HIM.

    Please don’t comment if you don’t know what you’re talking about
    bleedgreen says:

    You really should learn what you are talking about. The NFL and the Ref’s could not come to an agreement. That is when the NFL locked them out. So without a deal in place the effectively were in a strike. That is what it is called when people will not work until they get something.

  29. kev86 says: Dec 2, 2013 10:45 AM

    The Giants eliminated the Redskins from the playoffs.

  30. tillihawk says: Dec 2, 2013 10:47 AM

    I know not many out there will like what I am about to say but it’s so true. The league is obviously against the Redskins this year. You can complain about refs, penalties, etc but all the calls go against the Redskins. The only came I can recall where a team was penalized more than the Redskins was the Philly game. The Eagles actually did have more penalties. The refs appear to almost have been told to call things against them to give them a disadvantage. Its so clear.. yes I am a Redskins fan but my girlfriend who is a die hard Broncos fan says it week in and week out “Why is the league so against Washington?, it’s so clear everything goes against them”. I am not sure what it is but it sucks… I hate the Cowboys and Giants like any other Skins fan but to be honest, I would not want to the league to make it unfair for them like they are making it for the Skins… from Goddell all the way to the Refs… it’s horrible..

  31. cmarsh64 says: Dec 2, 2013 10:50 AM

    I’m not a Giants or Washington fan, but Washington got robbed. You can see the referee moving his arm to move the chains and the down marker set for a 1st down. It was clearly close enough to measure for the 1st down, but it looks like Triplette might have a side bet on the Giants.

  32. farvite says: Dec 2, 2013 11:04 AM

    Better than Bill Leavy, I guess.

  33. just2040 says: Dec 2, 2013 11:07 AM

    Hey Jeff, both yard markers said it was 1st down, and the scoreboard said it was 1st down. You guys screwed the Redskins. You should be fired.

  34. undietaker says: Dec 2, 2013 11:11 AM

    Mistakes happen, but at least have the cajones to admit them afterwards!

    It was nice that Collinsworth acknowledged the Redskins getting screwed for breaking the salary cap in an UNCAPPED year. It’s still baffling that this was swept under the rug. 18 million less cap/year for 2 years is a far more aggregious wronging of Washington than the botched down.

  35. nflfan1326 says: Dec 2, 2013 11:28 AM

    I actually thought on the third down play that the Redskin player caught the ball and it was recovered by the Giants. Thought Coughlin was going to challenge.

  36. ndrick731 says: Dec 2, 2013 12:00 PM

    He says that he didn’t want to give the redskins an advantage so he gave the giants an advantage. I hope this guy isn’t in a decision making position in his full time job.

  37. Deb says: Dec 2, 2013 12:03 PM

    Not to cause a controversy here, but I wish the media were half as concerned about the rampant incompetent officiating in the league that is now affecting the outcome of at least a game a week as they are about team nicknames. Then maybe, just maybe, they could pressure the commissioner to address something that actually impacts the game itself.

  38. halbert53 says: Dec 2, 2013 12:08 PM

    Would there be a delay of game if the referees seeing-eye dog took a crap on the field?

  39. roadtrip3500 says: Dec 2, 2013 12:09 PM

    “[T]here are no timeouts in this situation,” Triplette said. “We just didn’t shut it down in that situation because that would have given an unfair advantage.”
    ——————-
    Hey Jeff… in case you forgot, you have something no one else in the entire stadium has… a MICROPHONE tied directly to the PA system. All you had to do was announce “Correction: third down” to the building before the Redskins set up for the play and no one would have complained… and the clock would’ve stopped anyway because Shanahan would then have been entitled to a measurement.

  40. randyschwimmer7 says: Dec 2, 2013 12:12 PM

    Any time I see this clown as the ref of a Broncos game, I get instantly pissed. He is far and away the worst ref I have ever seen trying to ref in the NFL. He and that Boger clown are in a league of their own as down right terrible.

  41. Foghorn The IKonoclast says: Dec 2, 2013 12:59 PM

    This is just another example of ego run amok. Admit you messed up and let’s go on, I guess.

  42. joerevs300 says: Dec 2, 2013 1:00 PM

    He’s an idiot, plain and simple, saying the stopping the clock “would have given an unfair advantage to the Redskins”.

    Is not the POINT of the officials to get the call right on the field???

    Hopefully this gives him an “F” so we won’t see his crew in the playoffs.

  43. buhner1991 says: Dec 2, 2013 1:24 PM

    Skins fan here. That botch by the officials had zero impact on the game. Giants dominated the second half with 5 sacks on the pathetic excuse of an oline Washington has. That was the difference.

  44. tved12 says: Dec 2, 2013 1:28 PM

    Vikings fan here, don’t really care for any team in the NFC East.

    That said, this call changed the outcome of the game. Reason being, we will never know what would have happened if they got the call right. Maybe Washington doesn’t convert, maybe they do, maybe the score, etc… Problem is, I will never know. As a fan, I was robbed of the opportunity to see what would have happened. That is why this needs to be taken seriously by the league. You can say whatever you want, but unless we can go back in time we will never know what would have happened.

  45. mkuske says: Dec 2, 2013 1:42 PM

    Completely not buying the whole, “I don’t know what happened” charade. In fact it’s insulting. Triplette — like many of those who work for us in Washington — shows he thinks we’re a bunch of idiots with his explanation. He apparently thinks we’re stupid enough to believe that the refs don’t talk to each other after the game and the question “What the heck happened?” was somehow not brought up between them.

    On a side note, does anybody see a difference in the quality of officiating between these guys and the replacement refs? I sure don’t.

  46. sparky151 says: Dec 2, 2013 8:42 PM

    The chain gang moved the sticks because the Head Linesman signaled to them it was a first down. That’s supposed to be the Referee’s decision but apparently they didn’t follow procedure during the scramble.

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