Incompetence Is An Amazing Thing


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.


  1. The Chiefs didn’t lose just because of this though. The Titoons defense crushed them after halftime and Mariota played very well I thought. Besides, everybody knew there would be at least one major Triplette calamity in this game. There always is. The only question was who it was going to hit. I don’t mind him in the playoffs anyway, though. His incompetence is part of the tapestry. It would be hypocritical to pretend like he doesn’t exist or that his weird calls doesn’t cost teams in every game he officiates. He’s very good at gesticulating and talking slightly too loudly into his mike. It’s just all good here. The Chiefs weren’t going anywhere anyway, even if this had done them in. They have Andrew Walter Reid as their head coach.

  2. Is it weird that NO one has questioned the legitimacy of that miracle mariota to mariota TD?? My initial thought was that hes past the line of scrimmage. Replay showed he was past the line – the refs said nothing, the replay HQ said nothing, even Sean McD only made one comment, an unconvincing “he was behind the line” while showing an image that clearly showed him dangerously close. No one questioned or thought to relook at that? In this age of hyper-accurate replay analysis, it was staggeringly odd that this play got no attention.

    • I thought his hand was but his feet weren’t. Not sure what the rule is for that. Considering that it hasn’t happened since 1997 it’s probably possible that no one is sure.

  3. The Chiefs lost simply because that’s what the Chiefs do and Andy Reid is still their coach.

    Taking the points and Titans was the easiest $50 I’ve ever made.

  4. Triplette is reportedly retiring. Only time will tell if this is just the latest act of what one must assume has been a years-long performance art piece conducted with the full cooperation of the NFL. No Fun League my ass.

  5. It’s obvious that Triplette was horrible. My question is why do the officials in the Falcons/Rams game get a pass. There were two blatant defensive penalties inside the 5 yard line on the Rams second to last possession. One of them occurred in the end zone with the official looking right at it. I’m not arguing that it cost the Rams the game, but it sure didn’t help. It’s really frustrating seeing penalties not called near the end of games on the defense because the refs don’t want to “decide” the game. The action of not throwing a flag on a blatant penalty is deciding the game. Have some balls and throw the damn flag. If it’s a penalty in the first quarter it should be in the fourth. (See Niners vs Redskins 1983 NFC Championship game)

    I was actually rooting for the Falcons too. I’d love to see them come back from that devastating Super Bowl loss to win it all.


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