Jeff Triplette, meet Dante Hicks. Much like the downtrodden cashier from Clerks, Triplette was not even supposed to be here this Sunday. Triplette was heading Scott Green’s crew while the rest of Triplette’s crew had the holiday weekend off.
So when overtime began in San Diego between the Broncos and Chargers, Triplette had a slight sleight of mind. During the coin toss, he announced to both teams:
Each team must have an opportunity to possess the football and score.
Except, that’s not the rule. At least not in the regular season. He was citing the newly enacted, never used rule that overtime goes into “modified sudden death” in the playoffs. But first score always wins during the regular season.
[Video link at NFL.com changed on us. We are looking for a new link to the announcement.]
Of course, there is much ado over nothing, as Triplette corrected his announcement. He is not the first referee to recant a misstated rule. With a 123-page rule book and 113-page case book that must be recalled on a moment’s notice, it’s actually a surprise that the officials are right more than 98% of the time.
But, it would be nice to not have an overtime coin-toss controversy on Thanksgiving weekend (see: 1998).