The Titans and Chiefs played a great game to kick off this year’s playoffs, but former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira did not like what he saw from the third team on the field.
Pereira blasted referee Jeff Triplette and his crew for a poorly called game, writing on Twitter afterward that they didn’t handle the game like a playoff crew should.
“Horrible way to start the playoffs. I hate to say it but this was not a good performance by the crew. Teams and fans deserve better,” Pereira wrote.
Among the issues:
— Triplette blew the play dead immediately when Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson hit Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, ruing forward progress had stopped and the play was over. Replays appeared to show that Mariota had fumbled.
— On Mariota’s touchdown pass to himself, Triplette wrongly announced that Mariota was an eligible receiver because he was in the shotgun formation. In reality, the ball had been touched by a defensive player, which means every player on the field was an eligible receiver.
— After one penalty, there was a long delay while the officials conferred repeatedly, trying to figure out the right place to spot the ball.
— On a Titans first down, the ball was spotted about three yards short of where it should have been, forcing the Titans to challenge.
— Triplette announced that one Titans penalty was on No. 11. The Titans didn’t have a No. 11 on the field because the player with that number is Alex Tanney, a backup quarterback who is on injured reserve and wasn’t suited up for the game.
— In the final minutes, Derrick Henry tackled, was clearly down and one official blew a whistle. But after Henry went down the ball was stripped from Henry and Johnson picked it up and ran to the end zone, and the other officials allowed the play to keep going even though one had blown it dead. Replay eventually got it right, but once one official had blown it dead, it should have been over there.
Triplette has long had a reputation as the NFL’s worst referee. That was on display to a playoff audience on Saturday.