The ending to Sunday's game between the Packers and Saints was magical. From when Graham Harrell entered for one play until Garrett Hartley missed his field goal, our game thread and Twitter timeline were loaded with negativity.
Somehow, a fanbase that has seen two Super Bowl wins, another Super Bowl appearance and numerous other playoff victories over the last 20 years can't handle a couple of games failing to go their way. Cries of 'Fire Dom Capers' and numerous obscenities flew.
Except, Hartley missed his potential game-winning kick. With a chance to seal the game on third down, James Jones made this spectacular catch.
It was so stunning, so beautiful, and it came after he had already caught two touchdown passes. The much-maligned Jones, who many Packers fans have called for to be traded for years, put together the performance of his career and was perhaps the biggest reason why they were able to defeat the Saints to get to 2-2 and get their season back on track.
Of course, the Packers never should have been in that situation. They needed Hartley to miss a field goal, then get a first down, because Jeff Triplette called Darren Sproles down by contact on this play.
For that call and others shortly afterwards, Triplette and his crew were booed mercilessly. Six days after the Packers were robbed by replacement officials, five days after Packers fans bombarded Roger Goodell's voicemail, three days after a deal was reached with the real officials and three hours after Jeff Triplette was given a standing ovation by the crowd at Lambeau Field, the fans turned on him as if he was one of the scabs.
Even though Triplette will look back on the play and realized that he made a bad call, he seemed more than a little annoyed that the same fans who were screwed over so brutally by replacement officials were incredibly ungrateful for his presence, just hours after they lauded him as a pseudo-messiah.
As it turned out, James Jones never had to make that miraculous catch. He was interfered with, and the Packers would have picked up a first down anyway. Triplette went out of his way to make damn sure that you knew that, yes, he did see and call this penalty that benefited the Packers, you ungrateful little snots.
"FIRST DOWWWWWWWWWWWWN," Triplette said, like the most enthusiastic of Packers fans.
What did we learn here? Most of all, that officials are human. Jeff Triplette is pretty good at his job, and he made some absolutely massive mistakes that almost cost the Packers dearly. However, we also learned that Triplette -- who, to my knowledge, had the worst game of any of the officials this week -- called a much better game than even the best replacement official. The officiating in this week's game was infinitely better than last week's.
We also learned that, in the biggest moments, these guys usually get the calls right. There was a hold on Hartley's field goal attempt, and the Packers did commit a neutral zone infraction on the Saints' second go at the kick. Jabari Greer did interfere with Jones on that crucial 3rd down, and if Jones didn't make a brilliant catch, Triplette would have correctly given the Packers a first down.
With his hilarious, sarcastic penalty and first down call, Triplette reminded us that we should be damn grateful for his presence. Despite his bad calls today, I certainly am. Thanks for the reminder, Jeff.
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