Breaking Down the Ed Hochuli Screwjob

After the San Diego Chargers’ shocking loss yesterday, the first thing I wanted to do was log onto Sportable and rip the NFL apart, mainly their most famous referee, Ed Hochuli. But I didn’t want to speak out of rage and emotion. After a reflection of the chaos, I think I’ve calmed down enough to where I can address the nonsense that went down at Invesco Field yesterday.

The weirdness started early on, as Champ Bailey’s extracurricular activities were rewarded, as he stripped an already-tackled Chris Chambers. The result, shockingly enough, was called an interception by Bailey. When Muscle Beach Hochuli went to review it, he found the replay system “malfunctioning.” Convenient. But instead of having a back-up plan, the NFL only requires officials to wait two minutes before moving on with the play as called. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a goon up in the replay booth that has access to these things. In the case of malfunction, why aren’t the review responsibilities delegated to the upstairs official? Seems like a pretty easy way to alleviate the crisis, right Commissioner Goodell?

Then, of course, the Jay Cutler play. Can we think of a more obvious blown call? I can’t. Here’s an issue that needs to be addressed at this year’s owner meeting. Ed Hochuli and his triceps quickly admitted the call was blown, but there was simply no way to correct the call because the whistle was blown. Why in the hell not? Hochuli screwed up, but under this rule, he’s not permitted to fix it. We know Guns’ track record; all in all, he’s a pretty solid official. But he’s human. Humans make mistakes. But I thought the reason we had the review system was so human mistakes wouldn’t decide football games. 

Bad calls are a part of sports. I get that. And while Denver should have never even gotten the chance to score their touchdown and 2 point conversion, San Diego still had two great chances to knock a pass down. For the second week in a row, they failed. For the second week in a row, defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell showed how inept he is, bringing no pressure and letting his all-pro, physical cornerbacks give ten yards of cushion. Old habits die hard. For Cottrell, this latest screw-up should be the deciding factor in giving the defensive coordinator spot to linebacker coach Ron Rivera. 

All in all, the San Diego Chargers were completely robbed yesterday. But even after being robbed (twice), they still had two opportunities to win the football game by making one play. They didn’t. Ultimately, that falls on Ted Cottrell and his suddenly inept defense.

20 comments… add one

  • ben September 15, 2008, 1:10 pm

    NFL should fire ed

  • Conner September 15, 2008, 1:17 pm

    Chargers 38 Denver 24 Refs 15

    • yozmama July 8, 2009, 2:57 am

      that is so true dude cuz of that bullshit "the replay isn't working" so why do the chargers have to be punished

  • James September 15, 2008, 4:45 pm

    Almost any NFL team would win if the refs gave them two extra possessions in the red zone.

  • John September 15, 2008, 8:11 pm

    Yes, people are fired all of the time for making less of an error at their job than this error. I have ref’ed high school and jr college games and have seen and heard about guys getting fired for making errors of judgement far less meaningful than this blunder. Hochuli is too good a ref to have just made a mistake. This wasn’t even something that a pop warner ref would blow. Even if one ignored the fact that ref’s are supposed to let plays play out before blowing whistles but anyone and I mean anyone knows that even if it was a pass, it was backwards and thus is a live ball under any circumstance. Watch the replay over again, Hochuli doesn’t signal incomplete pass but instead starts to chase the loose ball and not until the Charger was about to recover the ball does he begin to signal and blow the whistle. He knew what he was doing, the replays show it!!!

    Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, P.L.C.
    2901 N. Central Ave.
    Suite 800
    Phoenix, Arizona 85012
    Phone: 602-263-1700
    Fax: 602-263-1784

    Edward G. Hochuli
    TEL: 602-263-1719

    Founded in 1983, the firm began with 12 lawyers, two paralegals and 14 support staff and has since grown to over 75 lawyers and 125 support staff.

  • David Briggs September 15, 2008, 8:17 pm

    Here’s the preening, arrogant, incompetent’s email address:

  • David Briggs September 15, 2008, 8:19 pm

    I guess I was a bit late. Well said, John. I agree completely. I’m not a fan of either team and even I was pizzed off. Calls like that are rampant and it’s far from the first by Ed Hochuli. Something needs to be done.

  • Harold September 15, 2008, 9:49 pm

    So you clowns want to have the man fired because he made a mistake? How would you have “fixed” the miscalled play? Give me a break…I hope *you* get fired the next time you make a mistake at work. The man didn’t try to cower behind his mistake, as I’m sure you guys behind your anonymous/phony emails do…

  • Ed September 15, 2008, 11:47 pm

    Let see how to fix his mistake. He gets on the PA system and says “After further review, Denver fumbled the ball and San Diego recovered the ball at the 10 yard line.” Don’t tell me what the rule book says about change of possession. Last year at the Ravens/Browns game a field goal that was ruled no good after review was changed to good and gave the Browns a win. By rule last year you can’t review field goals.

  • John September 16, 2008, 6:23 am

    Again, Hochuli is too good a ref to have just made a mistake. He knew exactly what he was doing! He followed it like any ref would a fumble until the Charger LB was about to recover and then he blew the whistle and waived incomplete pass. He knew by rule that Denver would keep the ball… I’m not even a SD fan and could tell a fix job when I see it!

  • John September 16, 2008, 6:26 am

    And Ed, I can guarantee that if I were to make this same “error” this friday at a meaningless high school game or saturday at a meaningless jr college game, I would no longer be working as a ref! period, end of career!

  • Matt September 17, 2008, 10:25 am

    Hey John,
    where is your address, phone number and email?

  • josh September 17, 2008, 10:33 am

    You guys need to back the f^*k off of Hochuli. I am a sports official and I can tell you that no matter how good a ref may be (and Hochuli is the best there is), or how long he officiates, or even what level he officiates, there will come a time when he will blow a call. It was just his (and the Chargers) bad luck that it happened in this particular situation. And even after the blown call, All San Diego had to do was knock down a pass and this discussion is not even taking place! And they had two chances to do it! If they knock one of those passes down, the whole point is moot. This was not a screw-job, fix-job, thrown game or anything else other than HUMAN ERROR! We all make them! And Harold I am right there with you. At least Hochuli has the balls to man up to his mistake.

  • Josh needs to f^ck off September 17, 2008, 4:29 pm

    First, Josh, it’s blown calls, emphasis on the plural part of it.

    Second, saying “all San Diego had to do …” is bullshiit. They wouldn’t’ve had to do anything if Hochuli didn’t screw up.

    Your statement might make sense if Mr. Muscles had not blown another extremely crucial call at the beginning of the game.

    You can call it human error or whatever, but the guy blew two redzone turnover calls that led to 15 points in a 1-point game.

    I respect the man for taking responsibility. People who stick up for his mistake and tell us not to be outraged by it need to “back the f^ck off.”

  • Illyse September 17, 2008, 4:49 pm

    I agree people need to back off of Hochuli. He is human and made a mistake. Yes, a terrible mistake that cost a team the game. He had no means by which to fix it, under NFL rules. He does not make the rules. You all mean to tell me none of you have ever screwed up a big project at work, lost a big client for your company, or otherwise made a business mistake that you just couldn’t fix?

    This guy works as a referee for the NFL (in addition to his day job). He made a terrible mistake at work that he was unable to fix due to his employer’s rules.

    What do you want from the guy? Blood? And how many of you armchair quarterbacks have refereed a professional football game? How many of you could do it without making a critical mistake? At least he had the guts and integrity to admit, ON THE FIELD during the game, that it was his mistake and the rules do not allow it to be overturned. The guy feels terrible and knows he screwed up. Isn’t that enough?

    I do not “stick up for his mistake” but it is for the NFL to decide how do deal with it, for they are his employer. None of us have the right to condemn this man, especially when we have NEVER been in his exact position, with all due respect to those who ref non-NFL games.

    In other words, give the man a break already!

  • James L September 17, 2008, 6:08 pm

    Illyse that is very well said and I agree with you 100%

  • David Briggs September 18, 2008, 2:09 pm

    I went to his website… NFL85 to post a comment in the forum. Apparently, Ed’s brother Scot runs the site. You can’t post until your member ship is approved. After waiting two days, and assuming that he wasn’t approving anyone due to all the negativity he’s been so deservedly receiving, I sent an email stating that I supposed censorship was their way of dealing with the matter. I got a sarcastic reply from the brother Scott saying that he could tell from my email that I had nothing good to say and had therefore cancelled my pending application for access to the site.
    It’s my understanding that a “forum” is a place for open discussion. Obviously it’s not… not in Hochuli’s case. They should add a notice “for admirers of the preening, arrogant incomtetent only”.
    What a hypocrite!!!

  • David Briggs September 18, 2008, 2:14 pm

    By the way, Harold, I am neither a clown nor a coward with a phony email address. During my career, had I made a mistake that major, I’d have lost stripes and probably done brig time.

  • chris September 18, 2008, 11:22 pm

    You guys are tools.

    Give the guy a break and stop being so serious about a game. he owned his mistake immediately and doesn’t make the rules regarding replay. Get over it.

  • bj October 19, 2008, 3:32 pm

    I don’t see how Hochuli could have missed it. It wasn’t like his view was blocked or anything. But people should ease up. It was a lame call but it’s still only a football game. I can see someone being pissed if they had a big bet on the game and lost but you know that making the bet “you can lose” I’ve won and lost money on games that you just walk away shaking your head. “I can’t believe I won/lost…”
    I don’t with you Ryan, “they still had two opportunities to win the football game by making one play.” If that play happens earlier in the game then yes they still have a lot of chances to come back but this is damn near the last play of the game. Secondly, THEY MADE A PLAY! They knocked the ball loose and recovered it. That’s like saying all Missouri had to do was stop Colorado one more time in the 1990 “Fifth down game”

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