Jeff Triplette somehow got a playoff game yesterday, and it did not disappoint. Now, I say this as someone who was in attendance at Arrowhead, so feel free to keep my bias in mind. The Chiefs lost the game for a lot of reasons: Kelce’s injury, poor offense in the second half that did nothing, a defense that could not get off the field on third down in the second half, a missed field goal that hit the upright, a touchdown that bounced back into Marcus Mariota’s hands. It was truly a fantastic script and the guy charged with coming up with something that would be a worthy sequel of every other Chiefs’ playoff loss at home deserves an award. Adding Jeff Triplette was simply a stroke of genius.
Jeff Triplette has had a long and notable–often for the wrong reasons–career as a referee. Back in 1999, he hit Orlando Brown in the eye with a thrown penalty flag, damaging his vision. Going back through our site headlines, you get things like “Jeff Triplette somehow reverses this fourth down stop to a touchdown for Benjarvus Green-Ellis,” Jeff Triplette made an egregious illegal hands to the face call against the Lions,” “Jeff Triplette called a ridiculous penalty that negated a Percy Harvin touchdown,” and “Aaron Rodgers got drilled crossing the goal line, leading to a tortured Jeff Triplette explanation.”
Even when there aren’t major controversies, a Jeff Triplette game is always good for some minor confusing gaffe. But man, he saved his best for last, if the reporting from Aditi Kinkhabwala is correct.
First, there was the “forward progress stopped” ruling that prevented the Chiefs from even challenging a fumble. Mind you, this came on a play that has existed since the beginning of football, a blitzing player flying in and hitting someone, instantaneously causing the ball to come loose.
Here was the explanation, which suggests he was watching a completely different game.
Tennessee kicked the initial field goal after that play to get on the board. He also called a two-point conversion play as forward progress, which was more debatable. We’ve seen officials let a play with the mobile quarterback try to pull away, especially when there was one defender.
And there was also the completely unnecessary challenge that the Titans had to use simply because Triplette’s crew mis-spotted a ball. I was watching from the stands and was like “uh, I’m pretty sure they just missed that one by about three yards.” Sure enough, they had to conduct a review to move it and give the Titans a first down.
We’ll miss you, Jeff Triplette.