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NFL Referee Jeff Triplette Retiring; Mike Pereira Blasted Crew for Titans-Chiefs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2018

Referee Jeff Triplette (42) stands next to a goalpost pad with Salute to Service military appreciation logos in the first half of an NFL football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The Tennessee Titans' playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday was reportedly referee Jeff Triplette's final NFL game.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com confirmed an NFL Network report that Triplette was retiring. Seifert noted Triplette has been an official since 1999 but drew criticism from former NFL officiating chief Mike Pereira for Saturday's performance.

Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reported Triplette told people around him he was retiring after Saturday's game and pointed out the hugs he shared with his crew "looked like goodbyes."

Pereira didn't hold back on Twitter after Tennessee completed its comeback against Kansas City:

Mike Pereira @MikePereira

Horrible way to start the playoffs. I hate to say it but this was not a good performance by the crew. Teams and fans deserve better.

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk went as far as saying, "Shame on the NFL for giving Jeff Triplette a playoff assignment."

Smith also provided a breakdown of the issues from the game—highlighting a delay, a badly missed spot, a questionable forward progress decision and a penalty called on the wrong player—and wrote "Triplette has long had a reputation as the NFL's worst referee."

Smith noted the crew made mistakes in some of the most important moments of the contest. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota caught a touchdown pass he threw after a Chiefs defender batted the ball, and Triplette said Mariota was an eligible receiver because he started in the shotgun—but every player was eligible because a defender touched the ball.

Earlier, Mariota's forward progress was ruled stopped on a Derrick Johnson sack that caused a fumble Kansas City recovered:

NFL @NFL

Wow. @SuperDJ56 #ChiefsKingdom #NFLPlayoffs https://t.co/0ZaiAJnstn

"In the final minutes, Derrick Henry [was] tackled, was clearly down, and one official blew a whistle," Smith wrote regarding another play. "But after Henry went down, the ball was stripped from Henry, and Johnson picked it up and ran to the end zone, and the other officials allowed the play to keep going even though one had blown it dead. Replay eventually got it right, but once one official had blown it dead, it should have been over there."

Had replay not overturned that play, the Chiefs would have taken the lead in the last minutes as the Titans attempted to run out the clock. Instead, Kansas City never regained possession of the ball as Tennessee clinched the win.

Will Brinson of CBSSports.com noted Triplette hadn't officiated a playoff game since the 2013 season and questioned whether the NFL knew of his impending retirement.

Triplette officiated nine playoff games in his career, but six of them were during the 2000 through 2007 seasons.

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