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Ed Hochuli made a pretty big mistake in Week 2, one that might’ve cost the San Diego Chargers their first win on the season. For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, in the San Diego-Denver Week 2 game, Denver was on offense and Jay Cutler received the snap, went to throw the football and when his arm went forward the ball came out of his hand in the reverse direction. The Chargers ran after and seemingly recovered the ball…
…Except for the little problem that the play had been ruled an incomplete pass. Norv Turner, of MENSA level intelligence, decided to throw a flag, even though by NFL rules, if the replay showed evidence for it to be a fumble, because of the play being blown dead, the ball stays in Denver’s possession. And, well, that’s exactly what happened.
Ed Hochuli apologized for the incident and expressed his deep sorrow about the mistake. Sadly, that can’t change the outcome, for the Chargers’ sake. But I think we need to truly address the problem and find the solution. And it’s not firing Ed Hochuli. The NFL did lower Ed Hochuli’s grade during the week and that’s certainly one way to take action, as it’ll make him have to earn back his placement into higher games.
If the agreement between the Referees and the NFL allows for it, the NFL could’ve fined Hochuli, though that would have been a bit much, in my eyes, given that he made an on-field mistake and not like he did something off the field that would seriously hurt the league. After all, holding is almost always missed at the line of scrimmage. The lowering of Hochuli’s grade was probably the best they could have done, in this case. If he continues to not perform, his grade will end up low enough that he might not even be retained.
The real problem is not how the referee should be punished for his mistake, however. After all, when human judgement is used, there is always room for error. The NFL’s replay system should continue to lead the way in being progressive and handling as many issues as it feasibly can. In this case, I think that if it can be seen from the replay camera where the ball was grabbed by the opposing team, they should get the ball at that line. After all, giving them more yardage isn’t the fairest, when the whistle has already been blown.
Instant replay has been amended in the past to allow it to cover more ground in regards to possession changes. So why not reform the system for the better and come to a decision and allow referees to be less scrutinized in regards to a mistake like this. Besides, when DeSean Jackson fumbled the ball at the one-yard line (in the Cowboys-Eagles game) and the referees made a mistake on that call, I didn’t hear a call for their necks.
Ed Hochuli just happens to be famous for his arm size and received unfortunate scrutiny. And I didn’t see anyone making rabid posts about a very obvious missed holding call Sunday in the Giants game. It’s not the referee that’s the problem, it’s the rules that are allowing human error to not be corrected.