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Jeff Triplette

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Jeff Triplette
Nationality 23x15px United States
Occupation NFL official (1996–Present)

Jeff Triplette is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) since the 1996 season. He wears uniform number 42.


Triplette is a retired Army Reserve colonel. He was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in the Persian Gulf War while serving in the North Carolina Army National Guard.

In January 2007, Triplette was named President and Chief Operating Officer of FNC, Inc., the provider of collateral management technology to the nation's largest mortgage lenders. Before joining FNC, he was Vice President for Risk Management at Duke Energy, a large energy company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In March 2013, Triplette was named President and CEO of, a website designed to assist in assigning officials to sports teams.[1]

Officiating career

Triplette joined the NFL as a field judge in 1996, then switched to back judge in 1998 after the NFL swapped position titles that season, and became a referee in 1999 after four-time Super Bowl referee Jerry Markbreit announced his retirement.[2] He was the alternate referee of Super Bowl XLI, which was held on February 4, 2007 in Miami.

On December 19, 1999, Triplette accidentally hit the Cleveland Browns' Orlando Brown in the eye with a penalty flag weighed with ball bearings. Video shows that Triplette immediately apologized to Brown, who was then tended to by the medical staff, but a few minutes later, Brown attempted to rejoin the team on the field for the next play, but Triplette prevented him from entering for the next play per NFL rules which stipulate that if a player incurs an injury timeout, he must sit out the next play. Not wanting to sit out the next play, and becoming frustrated with Triplette who injured him, Brown shoved Triplette to the ground. Brown was ejected. In an interview following the game, Brown cited a pledge to defend the blindside of then Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch as the reason he wanted to return to the field so badly. Initially the NFL suspended Brown indefinitely, but lifted the suspension when it was learned that the flag had temporarily blinded him. Brown was cut from the Browns in 2000, and he later sued the NFL in 2001 for $200 million stating the incident prematurely ended his career. Brown settled with the NFL for between $15 million to $25 million in 2002. The injury prevented Brown from returning to the NFL until 2003 when he signed with the Baltimore Ravens. [3] As a result of the incident, the practice of officials using flags weighted with BBs was discontinued in favor of other material. In addition, officials are now only instructed to throw a flag at the spot of the foul if they need to mark it as a possible spot for penalty enforcement; otherwise, they only need to throw it up in the air.[4]

On December 8, 2013, Triplette's crew initially ruled that a fourth-down run by Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis against the Indianapolis Colts was down-by-contact just short of the goal line. Because it was less than two-minutes before halftime, it automatically went to replay. After reviewing the play, Triplette reversed the call and awarded the touchdown to Green-Ellis.[5] However, based on comments made to a pool reporter after the game, and later confirmed by the league, his reversal was only based on footage of Green-Ellis near the goal line where he was clearly not touched – both Triplette and the replay official never considered the point where Green-Ellis began to stumble in the backfield, and thus they did not examine whether there was indisputable visual evidence that Colts defensive lineman Josh Chapman did not touch him there.[6] This miscall, along with other reasons, revived discussions around the league of centralizing all replay review functions to the league office, similar to the National Hockey League's system.[7] Centralized replay was then approved at the owner's meeting on March 26, 2014, although NFL referees will still make the final decisions instead of the command center.[8]

Triplette's 2014 NFL officiating crew consists of umpire Butch Hannah, head linesman John McGrath, line judge Jeff Bergman, field judge Boris Cheek, side judge Alex Kemp, and back judge Steve Freeman.[9]


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