Referee who made hilariously bad call in Lions-Bears not assigned game in Week 15

Shutdown Corner
Jeff Triplette has a week off after making a bad call against the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/det/" data-ylk="slk:Detroit Lions">Detroit Lions</a>. (Getty Images)
Jeff Triplette has a week off after making a bad call against the Detroit Lions. (Getty Images)

Jeff Triplette is going to have a hard time shedding his reputation as one of the NFL’s worst referees after his blunder Sunday — and the effect it had on next Sunday’s work schedule.

Triplette and his crew worked the Chicago Bears’ game at the Detroit Lions on Sunday, and midway through the second quarter there was a call that was stunningly bad. In essence, Triplette’s troops made the right call — illegal use of hands — but assessed it to the wrong team.

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Watch here as Bears defensive lineman Eddie Goldman, No. 91, extends his arm and hand into the facemask of Lions center Graham Glasgow. And the penalty was called on … yep, Glasgow. This might be one of the more blatant misses we’ve seen in some time.

That followed with Triplette not having an assignment for this week’s games. Is it his normal bye week? It could be, but the timing is suspicious.

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The question of whether Triplette called it wrong or someone on his crew called it wrong is absolutely besides the point. It’s the job of the crew to work this out cleanly before he announces the penalty, and if the crew chief were to somehow say it wrong someone else has to correct him. Triplette, a former Army colonel, should know plenty about leadership and teamwork, we assume. His crew clearly is lacking something under his watch.

The penalty was a big miss. It wiped out a 14-yard run, and the Lions settled for a field goal on the drive in an eventual 20-17 win. Good thing Matt Prater made his kick, or this would look even worse.

Referees do occasionally get weeks off depending on a number of factors, but the good crews are in action typically every week. The league had to see this egregiously missed call, and now Triplette coincidentally (or not) having a weekend off. He has been connected with some notoriously bad calls in the past, including a blunder that actually led the NFL to change the way plays are reviewed.

It’s hard to believe that a former Super Bowl crew chief would just randomly get a week off in the final three weeks of the NFL season without there being a reason. And we suspect we know what that reason is: illegal use of hands on the wrong team.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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