Prior to Saturday’s wildcard game in Kansas City, Ian Rappaport tweeted that Titans coach Mike Mularkey was at risk of getting fired if he didn’t win on the road, as an 8.5 point underdog. Chosen to be the crew chief refereeing the game, was one Jeff Triplette – a man who seemingly cannot be fired. No matter how many times he screws up.
As it turned out, Mularkey won (with some help by Triplette’s inventive notions of “forward progress”) and I assume he’ll keep his job. As for the league’s walking calamity in stripes, Mr. Triplette, who knows?
He should be fired tonight. He should have been fired years ago. But he might do the Super Bowl. Who can say? If the league itself cannot see this level of bumblage, and spare it’s playoff entrants from a Triplette-led game, then perhaps they are seeing something in Jeff that us mere mortals at home, cannot.
Either that, or Triplette has the drop on Goodell somehow. A photo of Roger with a goat on a moonlit drunken night in Ixtapa. Emails. A secret recording. Something. Because when everybody who follows this league on a slavish and devoted basis, knows well ahead of time that assigning this guy to a playoff game is nuts – and he then he goes out and screws a bunch of shit up! – you need to start delving into semi-crazy “alternate” explanations.
We will likely never know the answer. But if you are old enough to have worked in the “real world” at more than a few places, you know that incompetence comes in all forms, in all workplaces. And quite the often the reasons WHY somebody totally incompetent is allowed to keep on screwing up with no consequence, are enough to make your head melt.
Family connections are usually the #1 reason. “I can’t fire the kid, he’s family.” The #2 reason is often that firing the incompetent person would have an even more severe negative consequence than keeping him/her. And let’s also not be naive about incompetence. It is usually very self aware. Incompetence is like an organism that develops remarkable survival insticnts and defense mechanisms.
I mean, you don’t think Jeff Triplette doesn’t KNOW he sucks? He has to! He may not have twitter, but at some point somebody in his orbit must have said: “Hey, look what they are saying about you in my timeline!”
So fine. The NFL keeps their objectively, obviously, least competent referee employed for reasons we can’t understand, or will never know. It happens. But WHY assign him to the playoffs, when it would have been easy to pass him over!?
This is what strains the patience of us as fans. It is the loudest message possible that the league’s lords of the realm, do not care about the quality of their product as much as we do. That they don’t pay attention to little details of their business, that can cause serious damage, yet are easily fixable.
Jeff Triplette in the playoffs is not a banana peel in a shopping mall that somebody should have stopped to pick up before somebody filed a lawsuit. He’s an open manhole in the middle of a school crossing.