After working Saturday’s Titans-Chiefs playoff game, and making some very controversial calls during the game, referee Jeff Triplette is planning to retire as a referee according to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala. This might be a small silver lining for Chiefs fans today as they mourn another heartbreaking playoff loss and felt Triplette was somewhat to blame.
Even before the game started, people seemed to question why Triplette was working a playoff game. Usually, the playoffs are reserved for those referees who have had the best year so people were understandably confused because Triplette hasn’t been held to a high regard. In his 19th year as a referee, this was Triplette’s ninth playoff game and it showed that there was some indecisiveness in the calls taking place. Nobody is perfect but this seemed to be on another level.
The most egregious call was when Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and forced a fumble. Triplette ruled the play dead due to “forward progress” which didn’t seem to be the case. And because of that, the Chiefs were denied a turnover. The result was a 49-yard field goal for the Titans and they wound up winning 22-21. And there were many other mistakes made that was pointed out by former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira, who was rather angry at how the referee crew did.
Was Jeff Triplette botching that call why the Chiefs lost? Well, it didn’t help but no not really. Andy Reid and his running phobia while leading a playoff game caused the Chiefs to blow another big lead in the postseason. This happened as the Colts beat the Chiefs 45-44 in 2014 after the Chiefs blew a 28 point lead in the second half.
Anyway, back to Triplette, the 19-year referee is infamous for two rather notable moments. The first was that Triplette was the ref who blinded Orlando Brown when he accidentally threw a penalty flag into Brown’s face, hitting him in the eye. The second was a very controversial review in 2013 where Triplette overturned a call toward the end of a Bengals-Colts game and awarded Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis a touchdown rather than the original call where he was down by contact just short of the goal line. Triplette didn’t notice Green-Ellis making contact and thus overturned a correct call. That call caused the NFL to approve having all calls reviewed at a central off-site location and has been a cause of longer replays and controversial calls concerning what a catch is or not.