Ed Hochuli Receives Undo Criticism

Justin ZuckerCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2008

Perhaps I am crazy. Let me take that back: I know that I am crazy. I am quite certain that I am in the minority with the following view point, but that is fine with me. Why in the world is Ed Hochuli being lambasted? Is it because he made a bad call? Is it because he admitted to the bad call? Or are we as fans upset at the rule itself?

Let's start with the first question.

Jay Cutler drops back to pass and clearly fumbles the ball before throwing the pass. It was an empty hand and that is by rule, a fumble. The error occurs when Ed Hochuli blows the whistle and rules the pass incomplete while the play is still going on.

San Diego recovers the ball. However, since the whistle had blown, the play is dead, and it can't be reviewed. The dreaded inadvertent whistle rears its ugly head again. This is a bad call for sure. Ed Hochuli correctly spots the ball and Denver maintains possession.

They proceed to score AND successfully convert a two-point conversion for the win. Great call, Coach Shanahan! 

Second question. It was a bad call; that has been established and accepted by Ed Hochuli. By the way, he is widely considered as one of the finest referees in the NFL. For those of us that watch the NFL, bad calls happen during every game, and many go unnoticed by the fans and uncorrected for various reasons. 

This one stands out because it was the end of the game and resulted in the go-ahead touchdown. But let's make one thing perfectly clear. San Diego gave up 39 points! Feel free to stop Denver at any time guys. And they gave up the two-point conversion. Feel free to break up the pass and win the game. 

How about "manning up" just one time?

Let's jump back to 2005, during the Steelers' run to the Super Bowl. Does anybody remember the Divisional playoff game vs. the Colts? Remember those calls? Remember the Polamalu interception that wasn't? The Steelers overcame and won. Granted, it's tough to do, but the good teams overcome.

And when they don't, they don't point the fingers at the referees. They look in the mirror and blame themselves. That's called being a man. Norv Turner needs to check himself. The San Diego defense lost that game, not Mr. Hochuli.

Is Ed Hochuli being chastised for admitting the mistake? Perhaps. Maybe he should have hidden, like most officials do. He didn't have to own up to it, but that's the way he is. He is a stand up guy. Good for you, Ed. I am sure you have made mistakes before, and we have all moved on. Everyone will get over this as well.

So, the answer is that we are upset with the rule itself. Absolutely, the "inadvertent whistle" is a horrible rule and should have been addressed long ago. The rules committee should address it in the offseason and hopefully make the necessary changes.

Finally, I just read that Ed Hochuli will be "marked down" for this erroneous call. Are you kidding me? From his point of view, it looked incomplete. He blew the whistle. He got it wrong, but this is not the first blown call.

Give me a break with this one. The Chargers need to grow up, and the NFL needs to stand by their official. If the officials get reprimanded for every blown call, then we will be without officials before Week 10! It's called being human. 

So NFL, while you are on your soapbox with reprimands, would you please do me a favor? Would you reprimand Braylon Edwards for dropping balls? How about Kellen Winslow for complaining that he wants the ball and then dropping it? How about reprimanding Norv Turner for being a cry baby?

I think you get the picture.