NFL Referee Ed Hochuli Earning Respect for Admitting Mistake

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIISeptember 17, 2008

While Chargers’ coach Norv Turner will probably go into a rage if Ed Hochuli is appointed to officiate the Chargers' regular-season finale against the Denver Broncos, Hochuli has earned a lot of respect.

Hell, if Hochuli is assigned to another Chargers game this season, there will be a whole lot of rabid dogs out there, including me. 

Prior to last week’s absolute debacle, I always felt like Hochuli had it in for the Chargers. Every one of those games seemed to have inexplicable calls that went the other team’s way, but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt since I am so biased.

Obviously, after the third horrendous call last Sunday (including that bogus facemask penalty in the first half), I was screaming at the TV. 

I already didn’t like the guy, and then he screws the Chargers like this? Then I thought of the East Coast writers that would say that the Chargers should have stopped the Broncos when nobody was stopping anybody in that game. Visions of the Arizona desert danced in my head.

Hochuli, full of embarrassment and humility, showed dignity when he faced down guys like me and worse. It took a lot of guts to go back out there after the call was made and explain that the play should have been ruled a fumble, but since it was blown dead the ball must go back to the Broncos.

To make the right call, knowing full well the backlash that would ensue, shows that Hochuli is a man of integrity.

Regardless of some pencil-necked geek's opinion, Hochuli made the wrong call and the outcome of the game was changed because of it. That is not up for debate.

Unlike a few writers who are predictably somehow looking to blame the Chargers, Hochuli has placed the blame squarely on himself. Norv Turner and his team have accepted the outcome and moved on.

Let's just hope Hochuli is not a shell of his former self when he steps back on the football field this weekend, because the next team deserves better.