Jeff Triplette will serve as the referee for today’s Chargers-Bengals game in Cincinnati, which will leave a lot of NFL fans shaking their heads.
Triplette has been blamed for several baffling calls, including one just last month in Cincinnati, when he used replay to award Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis a touchdown even though it had been correctly ruled on the field that Green-Ellis had been tripped and fell down short of the goal line.
After the game, Triplette admitted that the only aspect of the replay he had looked at was whether the ball crossed the goal line, and not whether Green-Ellis had been tripped in the backfield. That’s the kind of blunder that is bad enough in the regular season but would be really embarrassing in the playoffs.
And yet the NFL somehow graded Triplette during the 2013 season as good enough to serve as a playoff referee. One big mistake shouldn’t preclude a referee from working a playoff game, but that wasn’t Triplette’s only big mistake. Triplette was also the referee whose crew couldn’t straighten out whether or not Washington got a first down late in a loss to Washington, a blunder that resulted in the league’s head of officiating publicly acknowledging that Triplette should have stopped the game action to make sure the call was right.
Triplette, whose crew routinely calls the most penalties of any officiating crew, often seems like he just doesn’t have the game under control. Let’s hope the Chargers-Bengals game doesn’t come down to a close replay that Triplette has to decide.