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Believe it or not: Officials admit error

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Rarely do officials make public statements about missed calls, but in Sunday's Dallas at Green Bay game, they did just that. What's more, referee Jeff Triplette conceded he had made a mistake.

The call in question came with 12 minutes to play and the Cowboys trailing, 10-0. Quarterback Tony Romo fumbled on a blitz by cornerback Charles Woodson, and running back Felix Jones appeared to roll onto the ball for the recovery before defensive tackle Johnny Jolly ripped it out of his grasp.

Linebacker Clay Matthews finally recovered at the 3-yard line, and the Packers scored soon thereafter for a 17-0 lead.

Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips threw his challenge flag after the recovery, and officials began the review process. Turns out the challenge should not have been allowed in the first place because league rules stipulate recovery of a loose ball in the field of play is not reviewable.

"It was my mistake to allow [Phillips] to start the challenge," Triplette told a pool reporter. "I should have just talked him out of it before we started."

How refreshing is that? Hearing an official actually admit fault is about as rare as Adam Vinatieri missing a clutch kick.

The last official who offered a mea culpa was Ed Hochuli after his infamous blown call in a Chargers-Broncos game last season.

Now a year later, it's happened again. Maybe accountability finally is becoming part of the officials handbook. Regardless, Triplette deserves a pat on the back for speaking about the call when he didn't have to, thus proving officials actually can be human on occasion.

By Gene Wang  |  November 16, 2009; 7:27 AM ET  | Category:  Refs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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It's too bad Americans don't show the same passion in critiquing the business leaders who have ground them up over the past decades as they display in their absurd fantasies that somehow they have been "had" by the nefarious actions of sports officials.

Posted by: dane1 | November 16, 2009 4:47 PM

The problem was not the challenge, it was that the call was bad and there was no review. The play was over when Felix Jones had the ball, before it was ripped out of his hands. The rule that a fumble can not be reviewed is stupid. Apologizing for almost doing the correct thing is just frosting on a road apple. The video showed that the call made on the field was wrong. The idea that the game should accept that officials can not reverse a call that they see is incorrect makes the officials more important than the game. Later on, the Greenbay coach called for a review when he had none. How that is not a penalty for delay of game is a mystery just as big, but nobody is apologizing for that either. If officials could get the obvious calls correct, it would be easier to put up with replay rules.

Posted by: harrisonppicot | November 16, 2009 11:03 PM

I am definitely NOT a Cow girls fan (as I assume Harrison might be), but he is absolutely right, both about how stupid it is that a fumble recovery can not be reviewed and that throwing a flag for a challenge you don't have not be penalizing.

Perhaps if Chris Webber had thrown the challenge flag instead of calling a timeout years ago ...

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | November 17, 2009 6:32 PM

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