Ed Hochuli Isn't to Blame for Chargers Loss

Nik SanbornContributor ISeptember 17, 2008

No one is taking the blown call harder than the man who made it: Ed Hochuli.

You all saw the play, or at least heard about it. Jay Cutler, Denver's rising-star quarterback, fumbled the ball without being touched while his team was down by a touchdown to Norv Turner's San Diego Chargers. Hochuli called it an incomplete pass, and Cutler and the Broncos went on to score a touchdown and make the two-point conversion to win the game.

Hochuli apologized immediately after the blown call, and is responding to every single letter of hate mail he has received from angry Chargers fans for his miscue, but Turner refused to accept the apology.

"Ed came over, the official, and said he blew it. And that's not acceptable to me. This is a high-level performance game, and that's not acceptable."

This is exactly the reason why Turner will not be an NFL head coach for much longer. That one call didn't determine the outcome of the game. What determined the game was the San Diego defense allowing Cutler to throw the touchdown strike to rookie Eddie Royal, and then letting Royal get open again for the two-point conversion.

Turner should have rallied his defense, getting them pumped up to stop Denver again. It isn't as though they had forced the fumble and then had it ruled incomplete, and there was no tremendous effort on their behalf; Cutler simply dropped the ball. But the defense laid down and essentially let Denver win the game.

I'm not saying that Hochuli was in no way responsible. But missed calls are a part of football. If Turner was a good coach, he would be able to motivate his defense to prevent a touchdown when the game is on the line.

Maybe Chargers fans have been directing their hate mail at the wrong man.