Jeff Triplette

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Jeff Triplette
Nationality  United States
Occupation NFL official (1996–Present)

Jeff Triplette is an official in the National Football League since the 1996 season. He wears uniform number 42. His 2013 NFL officiating crew consists of umpire Butch Hannah, head linesman Phil McKinnely, line judge Jeff Bergman, field judge Barry Anderson, side judge Dave Wyant and back judge Steve Freeman.[1]

Personal[edit]

Triplette is a retired Army Reserve colonel. He was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in the Persian Gulf War while serving in the North Carolina Army National Guard.

In January 2007, Triplette was named President and Chief Operating Officer of FNC, Inc., the provider of collateral management technology to the nation's largest mortgage lenders. Before joining FNC, he was Vice President for Risk Management at Duke Energy, a large energy company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In March 2013, Triplette was named President and CEO of ArbiterSports.com, a website designed to assist in assigning officials to sports teams.[2]

Officiating career[edit]

Triplette joined the NFL as a field judge in 1996, then switched to back judge in 1998 after the NFL swapped position titles that season, and became a referee in 1999 after four-time Super Bowl referee Jerry Markbreit announced his retirement.[3]

On December 19, 1999, Triplette accidentally hit the Cleveland Browns' Orlando Brown in the eye with a penalty flag weighed with ball bearings. Video shows that Triplette immediately apologized to Brown, who was then tended to by the medical staff, but a few minutes later, Brown attempted to rejoin the team on the field for the next play, but Triplette prevented him from entering for the next play per NFL rules which stipulate that if a player incurs an injury timeout, he must sit out the next play. Not wanting to sit out the next play, and becoming frustrated with Triplette who injured him, Brown shoved Triplette to the ground. Brown was ejected. In an interview following the game, Brown cited a pledge to defend the blindside of then Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch as the reason he wanted to return to the field so badly. Initially the NFL suspended Brown indefinitely, but lifted the suspension when it was learned that the flag had temporarily blinded him. Brown was cut from the Browns in 2000, and he later sued the NFL in 2001 for $200 million stating the incident prematurely ended his career. Brown settled with the NFL for between $15 million to $25 million in 2002. The injury prevented Brown from returning to the NFL until 2003 when he signed with the Baltimore Ravens. [4] As a result of the incident, the practice of officials using flags weighted with BBs was discontinued in favor of other material. In addition, officials are now only instructed to throw a flag at the spot of the foul if they need to mark it as a possible spot for penalty enforcement; otherwise, they only need to throw it up in the air.[5]

On December 1, 2013, his crew was involved with a miscommunication with the chain crew. The Washington Redskins were trailing the New York Giants, 24-17, with less than two minutes to go, and in the hurry-up offense with no timeouts left. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a second-down pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon at Washington's 41-yard line close to the first down line. At the end of the play, Triplette signaled that it was now third down and one,[6] but the head linesman and the chain crew initially thought it was a first down and moved the chains.[7] Griffin, initially also thinking it was first down, and still in the hurry-up with time running down, attempted a deep pass to tight end Fred Davis but it fell incomplete. The Redskins then failed to convert on fourth down when Garcon was stripped of the ball by Will Hill. Answering questions to reporters about the incident, Washington head coach Mike Shanahan said he initially asked for a measurement but was also told by the head linesman that it was first down.[7] Asked by a pool reporter after the game why he let the play go, and did not stop the clock when he saw the chains moving incorrectly, Triplette said that it would have given Washington an unfair extra timeout when they were in the hurry-up with no timeouts left.[8] In addition, the referees are instructed to not even attempt to measure inside of two minutes with the clock running, unless it is a third down going to fourth.[9] The next day, the league's Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino stated that Triplette should have momentarily stopped the clock to clear the confusion despite the hurry-up situation.[10]

On December 8, 2013, Triplette's crew initially ruled that a fourth-down run by Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis against the Indianapolis Colts was down-by-contact just short of the goal line. Because it was less than two-minutes before halftime, it automatically went to replay. After reviewing the play, Triplette reversed the call and awarded the touchdown to Green-Ellis.[11] However, based on comments made to a pool reporter after the game, and later confirmed by the league, his reversal was only based on footage of Green-Ellis near the goal line where he was clearly not touched – both Triplette and the replay official never considered the point where Green-Ellis began to stumble in the backfield, and thus they did not examine whether there was indisputable visual evidence that Colts defensive lineman Josh Chapman did not touch him there.[12] This miscall, along with other reasons, revived discussions around the league of possibly centralizing all replay review functions to the league office, similar to what the NHL does now.[13]

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