The groaning that you heard around the world earlier this week wasn't another ticket-based story featuring the Cincinnati Bengals. It was that the league assigned Jeff Triplette to the Cincinnati Bengals playoff game against the San Diego Chargers this weekend (if you're not sure why people groaned, click on that link or watch the video).
Mike Pereira, former Vice President of officiating reacted to the news in a feature on Fox Sports.
"I am surprised, and I say that especially in Cincinnati, because if you look at Jeff Triplette, you go back to Week 13 — his crew was the crew that lost track of the down in the New York Giants-Washington game," Pereira said. "And then you go to this play [the Green-Ellis play] with Cincinnati — I mean, this was a play that was ruled short and down short of the goal line. They reversed it to a touchdown, and did not look at the contact that occurred at the five-yard line. Yet, Triplette still has Cincinnati in the wild-card [round]? And he has the same replay official that’s going to accompany him to this game? That, to me, doesn't make sense, and I wouldn't have assigned it that way."
Pereira goes on to describe the botched touchdown call against the Indianapolis Colts in week 14 that no doubt favored Cincinnati, but reversed a tackle at the one into a touchdown for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He concludes "That (putting Triplette in Cincinnati) to me certainly doesn't make sense and I wouldn't have assigned it that way."
Pereira isn't the only one that's confused.
How many referees' names do you actually know? In an ideal world, it'd be Ed Hochuli, and that's it. But the name Jeff Triplette has popped up a few times this year, and not for anything good: Triplette's crew had major game-changing screw-ups in consecutive weeks. And what do you know? Triplette's working a playoff game.
Jason McIntyre with The Big Lead writes:
Jeff Triplette was one of the worst referees in the NFL this year, and found himself embroiled in controversy three times in December. First, his crew botched a call late in a close Redskins/Giants game; then he badly blew this call in a Cincinnati Bengals game; in the Seahawks/Rams season finale, his crew lost control of the game very early.
And who can forget him angrily screaming at Clay Matthews in 2012? And the flag he accidentally threw into the facemask of Orlando Brown, temporarily blinding him?
Well, here’s some news that might make Marvin Lewis and Mike McCoy cringe: Triplette and his crew will referee the San Diego-Cincinnati Wild Card game Sunday, the NFL announced.
Josh Katzowitz with CBSSports.com:
With Triplette, the perception of his job performance is most likely infinitely times worse than his actual grades. But still, when Triplette is officiating your favorite team's games, there's almost no chance you're going to be confident that everything will run smoothly.