NFL admits officiating error in Bengals-Colts

Updated: December 10, 2013, 10:09 PM ET

Mike Wells |

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL’s head of officiating said on Tuesday that referee Jeff Triplette made the wrong call when he reversed a play in the second quarter of Sunday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.

“It wasn’t a correct call,” Dean Blandino, the league’s head of officiating, said on “Total Access” on the NFL Network. “We made a mistake here.”

The Bengals had the ball fourth-and-goal at the Colts 1-yard line, when Indianapolis defensive tackle Josh Chapman tripped running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis stumbled to the ground and the officials ruled that he was down short of the goal line.

The play was reviewed and Triplette reversed the call, giving the Bengals a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter. Chapman said after the game Sunday and again on Monday that there was no doubt in his mind that he touched Green-Ellis.

“The call on the field was that he was touched and he was down by contact with the ball short of the goal line,” Blandino said on NFL Network. “In order to overturn that there has to be indisputable visual evidence that the call on the field was incorrect. That’s the standard.

“When we look at these angles, it’s close. Don’t think it’s definitive either way. And when it’s not definitive either way, that means the call on the field should stand. So we made a mistake here. This should not have been overturned. This should have been Indianapolis’ ball.”

The Bengals won the game 42-28

  • Indianapolis Colts reporter for
  • Previously worked at Indianapolis Star
  • Covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press

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