CINCINNATI — Did he or didn’t he?
Was Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stopped on fourth down short of the end zone or did he make to the end zone without being touched?
The Indianapolis Colts, many of their supporters and a large number of long-time National Football League observers say no.
They are steadfast in their belief that Colts second-year nose tackle Josh Chapman had grabbed Green-Ellis’ ankle from behind on the play, forcing the former Indiana University standout to lose his balance and eventually came up short of the end zone.
No one disputes the fact that Green-Ellis eventually wound up past the goal line. Those who support Indianapolis’ position, though, contend that he was down before that happened.
Since the play occurred in the final two minutes of a half, it was automatically reviewed by the officiating crew that was headed by referee Jeff Triplette.
At the time, the review was considered a technicality. Cincinnati’s defense and the Colts’ offense were already on the field.
But Triplette surprised everyone when he reversed the call and signaled a touchdown.
The Twittersphere exploded. Everybody had an opinion. And most, if not all, disagreed with the call. Even former National Football League supervisor of officials Mike Pereira, now an analyst for Fox Sports, thought that it was the wrong call.
After the game, a pool reporter asked Triplett to explain his decision.
“There was a discussion about whether the runner was touched down at the goal line or not. When we reviewed the video at the goal line, there was nobody touching him there. And then he bounced into the end zone,” the veteran game official said.
But what about CBS Sports’ game broadcast replays that showed Chapman grabbing Green-Ellis’ foot, which caused him to stumble.