Ed Hochuli: Three Strikes and You're Not Out!!!

Kristin HamlinSenior Analyst IOctober 8, 2008

I don’t think it’s any secret that Ed Hochuli, the referee that was more of a celebrity, is in a different kind of spotlight now.

The cruel spotlight.

Not the one that will shine down on you radiantly, giving you all the credit while you make good call after good call. 

We are talking about the spotlight that will shun down on you after making one, yes one, bad call.

Now, it seems, anything Ed Hochuli does on the field is in that cruel spotlight.

Everything and anything he does is being critiqued. 

And it’s looking that any good critiquing would only happen if Ed was fired.

I understand that I don’t write for ESPN, and this message will only go out to a few, but that’s good enough for me.

For all you fans that think Ed Hochuli is an awful referee and should be fired, I have something to say: GET OVER IT.

Seriously. Get over it. The only really bad call he made that deserved anger was against San Diego. I agree. It was a bad call that cost a win for the Chargers. I get that it was a big deal.

Are you done crying yet?

Because if you’re not, then I would focus more on crying at the Chargers' defense and how one of the most anticipated teams this year has struggled in every game.

Here’s a tissue. 

I find it fascinating that people were so bothered by the call they actually sent hate mail to Ed, some going as far as wishing him death.

Who has this much time on their hands?

I can only imagine what kind of life you must lead. I don’t, however, want to imagine how you handled the Chargers' game against the Dolphins this year.

And regarding that hate mail...

What if I told you that Eddie responded back to every single e-mail he received? Every cruel, nasty, awful e-mail?

Guess what. He did.

Says Ed, “I'm getting hundreds of e-mails—hate mail—but I'm responding to it all. People deserve a response. You can rest assured that nothing anyone can say can make me feel worse than I already feel about my mistake on the fumble play. You have no idea … Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection—I failed miserably. Although it does no good to say it, I am very, very sorry."

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like he feels worse than he probably has in his entire life.

Little did he know, this was only the beginning of the newfound “Hoch-haters.”

After the game in Denver, two weeks to be exact, Hochuli was scrutinized again, only this time in Charlotte, NC, where the Panthers were hosting the Falcons.

Matt Ryan’s pass was intercepted by Richard Marshall and he ran it back for a Carolina touchdown. Hochuli threw a flag, announcing that Peppers made a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ryan. The call erased the TD and gave the Falcons a first down.

While I will concede that the replays did show Peppers actually hit Ryan with his shoulder first, Ed made the right call with what he thought he saw. It was too close for comfort.

Just to prove my point. On that same day, Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin had an incredibly scary moment when he was hit helmet-to-helmet by Jets safety Eric Smith.

It was a sick feeling in the stomach for anyone watching that game, seeing Boldin on his back, motionless. 

Ed made the right call.

Atlanta never scored on that drive. Carolina won 24-9. Phew! That was a close one, Panther fans.

Hochuli gets graded on every performance, so the fact that he is among the NFL’s top officials for years just isn’t a coincidence.

Monday night, the Saints played the Vikings, and the Hoch was in the middle of yet another controversial call. This time, it was a blatant facemask on Reggie Bush.

The “Hoch haters” started booing Ed immediately.

Of course they did.

Apparently their knowledge to the game of football and how it is ruled is non-existent. There were two other officials that were closer to the play who should have blown the whistle.

Hochuli was nowhere near the play.

Just say though, that it was Hoch's fault. How many times have you witnessed a facemask or an offensive hold and it not get called?

And how many times has that hold or facemask been on your team, and you secretly thanked those officials for not making the call?

But because it was Ed Hochuli out there, there was no excuse for this kind of non-call.

And again, the hate e-mails started, accusing Hochuli that he was throwing the game on purpose.

Yes, because last time I checked, Hochuli loathed New Orleans and had money in Vegas that Minnesota was going to win the Super Bowl.

I am pretty sure actually that he had this whole thing planned out, conspired with his other staff on the field, letting them know if anyone grabbed a Saints mask to turn the other way and ignore it.

Does this sound ridiculous at all?

It should.

While being under the microscope is definitely no fun, Ed has handled it quite well. Better than most I suspect.

Has he been perfect on that field?

In no way would I agree.

Has he been a better official than most anyone else in the past decade?

You bet he has.

We always want to blame the refs when our team is down or in desperate need of a win.

When the player from our team fumbles the ball, we want the Coach’s challenge to overturn it, even if there is NO way his knee was down. When it doesn’t get overturned, we boo the official relentlessly.

Yet, when we are on the opposing side of the call, we praise those same refs for being amazing at their job, for not overturning the call even when it shows an interception that was clearly pass interference, but according to them, it was "inconclusive evidence." 

We LOVE the officials when they make those kind of NON-calls, don't we?

Bottom line. Leave Ed alone and let him do his job. 

The Chargers should be 3-2. I will not argue with that.

For those Charger fans that are still outraged with Ed’s call, please take a moment to swallow this next fact in.

Their only wins have been against a mediocre Jets team and the Raiders. They barely made it out of Oakland with a win.

One of their losses was against a Miami team that was expected to be the worst in the league.

Here’s another tissue.


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