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Why is replay so hard for Triplette crew?



We have reported on two instances where Jeff Triplette’s crew had difficulty in getting basic information correct on replay reversals. First, in Week 5, Triplette and his crew spotted the ball 4½ yards behind where it was supposed to be. Then, last week, an overturned call should have created a dead-ball situation,  and 24 seconds should have been added back on to the clock.

We noted that this is a failure of Triplette and his replay official, Bob Boylston, to convey down, distance, yard line, and time remaining on all replay reversals. In addition, the rulebook says that the remaining six officials have the responsibility to correct errors before a play is run. A mistake by one is a mistake by all.

Their field-booth communication has improved, however, it brings a third and fourth indictment against Triplette. The crew was officiating the Packers–Cowboys game on Sunday.

First, Triplette was willing to grant a coach’s challenge by the Cowboys regarding the recovery of a fumble. Rule 15, Section 9 covers all of the reviewable plays, but specifically says:

Note: Non-reviewable plays include but are not limited to … recovery of loose ball in the field of play.

Since it was not a scoring play, Triplette should have known to waive off the challenge. Instead, he went to the replay equipment where he was told it was not a challengable play.

Second, Triplette was about to grant a challenge to the Packers, who had already exhausted both challenges earlier in the game. Each official has a card that tracks pertinent information, such as the score, time outs and challenges. This is the basic bookkeeping required to run an efficient game. However, Triplette was under the hood again when he was informed that the Packers did not have a challenge to use.

In addition, he forgot Rule 15, Section 9 also says:

Penalty: For initiating a challenge when all of a team’s time outs have been exhausted or when all of its available challenges have been used: Loss of 15 yards.

So, while the correct calls were made this week (other than the penalty enforcement), it is hard to believe that a crew of seven has to rely on the booth for basic information on when a challenge can be issued.