Hochuli Is My Hero

Bryan HealeyCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2008

Hitler is ice skating in hell right now.

Does anyone remember that Subway commercial just a few months ago where the referee came on over the sound system and announced that he "totally blew that call" but will "penalize the other team for no good reason in the second half to even things up"?

I love that commercial. Why? Because it is clearly nonsensical and that made it funny.

I've been watching sports for pretty much my entire life, and I have never seen an official in any sport admit he was wrong. Ever. The official could be visibly passed out from alcohol and heroin with his two-inch-thick glasses in pieces beside him when he calls pass interference on the opening kickoff, and he still would have defended that call until the day he died.

It's basically rule numero uno in the officiating handbook: You are never wrong.

Anyone remember the 1999 ALCS? Do I even need to mention what play I'm talking about? Even Yankee fans have agreed with me on just how bone-headed and mind-bogglingly stupid that call was. Everyone in Fenway, including Knoblauch, was utterly stunned into silence at that call. I'm shocked the Yankees didn't just burst into laughter right on the field.

Regardless, umpire Tim "the enchanter" Tschida has never openly admitted to blowing the call. I'm sure he never shuts up about it, either. I'm sure everytime he gets together with family and friends he repeatedly shouts, "All the video is wrong! You had to see it from my angle!"

Gotta follow rule numero uno.

So I'm sure it caused serious shockwaves in the officiating community when Ed Hochuli broke the code and announced, in full view of the press (not just in front of his wife or kids), that he had blown a crucial call that cost the Chargers a win against the Broncos.

This must have taken some serious fortitude in the lower region. I'm talking coconut-sized. He must know that he will never live this down. Every call he ever makes from now until the heat death of the universe will be followed by complaints from the players:

"That was totally a first down!"

"You're 43 yards from a first down! You got sacked on your own two yard line while running away screaming and crying!"

"Bah! This is just like that Denver/San Diego game!"

And yet, Hochuli admitted wrongdoing anyway, knowing full well the consequences...Watermelon-sized fortitude.

I feel this is a very positive development in the world of sports. If officials are finally able to admit wrongdoing, perhaps it's about time we get some admissions from some past officials mistakes, and I'm not just talking about the Phantom Tag.

Anyone remember the Fifth Down Game? I sure don't, because I was seven at the time. But the Internet sure does! This was a game when referee Louderback gave Colorado an extra down in a crucial sequence to let them score the winning touchdown.

Now that Hochuli has opened up the possibility of restitution, I think Louderback should consider some sort of apology to Missouri, such as ritual sepuku, or at least a letter of regret.

In conclusion, I want to thank Hochuli for providing fans with fuel to second-guess, curse and berate officiating for the remainder of the existence of the National Football League. I can only hope he remains good-spirited about the whole thing.

Oh! Maybe he'll make a Subway commercial!