Recently retired NFL referee Jeff Triplette is joining ESPN to be the new rules analyst for Monday Night Football, according to a report from Football Zebras on Wednesday.
The report adds that the NFL specifically steered ESPN to hire Triplette, who was one of two of the league's referees to retire after the 2017 season, along with Ed Hochuli.
Triplette will replace Gerry Austin, who had served a MNF's rules analyst since 2012. Austin, an NFL official from 1982-2007, was hired last week by former MNF color analyst and current Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to be a consultant for the team.
Triplette will be working alongside a new trio of play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore, booth analyst and former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and field analyst Booger McFarland, who played nine NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. Lisa Salters is the lone holdover from the on-camera team as the on-field reporter.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Triplette entered the NFL as a field judge in 1996 and became a referee in 1999.
The news that Triplette was set to retire broke one day after his final game, a wild-card playoff contest between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs that included several controversial calls. The decision to retire was reportedly unrelated to the game.
Triplette's most infamous moment in the NFL took place during his first season in charge in 1999, when he threw a penalty flag that struck Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Orlando Brown in the eye. The sequence left Brown partially blind, and Triplette apologized for inadvertently hitting him with the flag.
Side judge Alex Kemp was promoted to replace Triplette. Shawn Hochuli, Ed Hochuli's son and previously a back judge, filled the league's other open referee position for 2018.
--Field Level Media