Disclaimer: I was very angry at the time I wrote this, so there are profane words in this article. If you will be offended, you may stop reading now.
Disclaimer Two: If you are one of these uppity prick editors that will take the curse words out of this article, do not waste your time. I will go back and replace them. I counted seven bad words. It's not the end of the world. Get a freaking grip.
There was a running joke while I was in college that Ed Hochuli was the best official in all of sports. We knew he was a lawyer off the field (as most NFL referees have other jobs), but we also knew him for a much more defining characteristic; he was (and still is) diesel.
Ed Hochuli defied the stereotype of the scrawny referee who could never play the sport. In fact, Hochuli looks more like an NFL player than half of the players. He keeps himself in ridiculous condition (which I honest to god believe makes a ton of NFL players respect him), but more importantly, he is one of the longest-tenured referees in all of football, and he rarely fucks up, until now.
Jay Cutler fumbles as he pulls back to pass. San Diego recovers. The game should be over. Unfortunately, Hochuli is lined up in a position where he does not see that the ball came out before the usual release point (“tuck rule”) and blows his whistle.
A whistle signifies a dead ball, meaning that it was Denver's ball. Denver, as we know, goes on to win after scoring a touchdown and tacking on a two-point conversion. Hochuli was out of position to make the call, everyone, including Hochuli himself, knows that; and now he’s getting death threats from a bunch of Chargers fans with small dicks.
I probably should be more pissed about that call than I am. After all, I did pick the Chargers to go to the Super Bowl. But here is the thing: Ed Hochuli does not deserve to be in the wrong. The blame rests on the Chargers and the NFL, and here’s why...
First and foremost, I employ my sports fandom using a specific policy. A close game should never end with a ref being blamed for something. The game should not have been close in the first place.
San Diego was offensively and defensively shelled the entire first half of this game. And I don’t want to hear some condescending Chargers fan say otherwise. I like the Chargers a lot, and I watched the game. They looked like shit.
Now, to their credit, the Chargers came back big. Darren Sproles looked like a maniac, and the tandem of Chambers and Rivers played very well. Their defense was totally not up to snuff throughout the game, which leads me to the end of the game.
A call was blown; but so was the coverage on two ensuing plays to the same receiver. If Ed Hochuli was the name of every Chargers defensive player, then this story would have a different tone.
Second, we are now closing in on a decade of the NFL using the instant-replay challenge. Literally, since day one, there has been an issue with the system. A play cannot be reviewed if a referee or official blows his whistle and calls the play dead.
There is one excruciating example that frequently accompanies this rule. IF THERE IS A FUMBLE ON FIELD, RECOVERED BY THE OPPOSING TEAM, BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY A WHISTLE WAS BLOWN, THE PLAY CANNOT BE REVIEWED.
An issue like this happens almost annually and blown calls are always the most important in the NFL (unless, of course, they are made by Tim Donaghy), where the playoff races are always so tight. Ed Hochuli didn’t make this rule, and it has still not been changed, even though it has plagued the league for nearly a decade. So get off his nuts.
Oh and also, if you want to learn the definition of class, take a look at this guy. Not only has Hochuli apologized to everyone involved, he has also personally responded to all of the fans that personally emailed him—people that he could very well snap in half if he felt like it.
Give the guy a break.
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