Week two in Denver saw an undeniable fumble propel a late game comeback by a team that was handily beaten. Now fast forward to week five in which a face mask penalty preceded a fumble, change of possession, and ultimately the outcome of the game.
Players play the game and by all accounts are responsible for the play on the field. This season, however, it seems as though one officiating crew has influenced the game of football almost beyond reproach.
I have been a supporter of Ed Hochuli for a long time, and have always thought that he represented the best that the National Football League could provide for an official.
His analysis, insight, and thorough explanations of rules always gave me full confidence that the game was being officiated fairly with no bias. With that said, it has been depressing, to say the least, to watch what may be the downfall of one of football's great presences.
While watching last night's game, I felt almost sick to my stomach to see that the official explaining the fumble, return, and the loss of possession out of bounds was in fact the same individual that mishandled a crucial call in week two.
After watching the face mask replay, I wondered to myself, "Who could miss that call?"
It was depressing to see who represented the officiating crew. I know that the referee himself was not responsible for making that call, but I had to wonder once again who could miss that call?
From that point on I second guessed every call made by any one of those officials. I realize it's not my place, nor am I qualified to officiate a game at that level. I, as a fan, would enjoy watching the players play it out on the field, and not wonder if there was a non-call or a game changing call made by those paid to observe the game and administer the rules.
I know that this particular crew has been involved in controversy more than once this year. From what I've read about those situations, Hochuli has been accountable and forthright in his explanations.
I commend him for that to be sure, and still respect the way he goes about the game. I do wonder, though, do the officials working under his supervision feel that respect as well? Are they capable of performing to the high standard that has become expected of them, portrayed for years by the official they work for?
I am just wondering if anyone else was feeling this way about this group of officials, or is it just me?