The League


How Will Ed Hochuli Change the Rules?

After stealing Norv Turner's smile, the NFL downgraded Ed Hochuli faster than Lehman Brothers, and League spokesman Greg Aiello announced that the NFL competition committee will examine the fumble rule. But how should they change it and deal with the replay system?

Posted by Emil Steiner on September 16, 2008 1:10 AM

Just Mike: The fix is so straightforward, even whistle-happy refs won't get it wrong: "There's no such thing as an incomplete pass behind the line of s...

Fred M.: There should be no whistles during the entire game, except for scores, the end of quarters, and the end of halfs. These guys are too out of...

Louis Levario: Although, I use to live in the Denver area, this problem has happen between the Oakland Raiders and now San Diego, what good are this ref wh...

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (15)

ProT :

I don't get why you have people at all. Doesn't the technology exist to put sensors in the ball and use remote replay to adjudacate all penalties?

No Recourse :

NFL officiating has been suspect for many years. If the NFL is interested in changing the fans opinion (read - clean up the official's act), here's an option:
NFL teams are authorized x protests to the NFL per week. These protests are based upon calls by the NFL officials. Once received, the NFL will review the call, then issue an opinion on the call. The result could be: The Redskins protested the following call: (Statement by the Redskins) Based upon rule 33.01, the official ruling on the field is valid; or the call on the field was incorrect, based upon rule 10.01. The official was disciplined or Discipline is not warranted. The results should be published. This way, the public knows, and the NFL and their officials are held accountable.

enough already :

How many times have MLB, NBA, NFL responded to isolated controversies by changing the rules of the game? Whatever the number is, 99% of the time, legislating a response to such incidents makes matters worse and further erodes competition and the fan experience. Worst of all, it just leads to more mistakes and poorer performance by game officials as they try to work out the kinks, digesting new league circulars that contradict standing league circulars and the flow of the sport as it's been established.

If the whistle blows, the play is dead. You CAN NOT change that rule!

Sometimes game and league officials need to take a tip from players, coaches, and LIFE: you make a mistake, just come out stronger next time. Raise YOUR game - you don't need to change THE game.

Vox Populi :

The NFL is a disgrace and one of the most hypocritical businesses in America. How can anyone believe that what they are watching is real? Penalties are ignored, replay machines not operable and referees unaccountable. It's as if the NFL decided to become staged reality TV, the $64,000 Question and the original Gong Show all rolled into one - and that garbage I will not watch.

Truf Nut :

Try firing any official who messes and rewarding those make good calls

Miami Mitch :

3 Changes to Instant Replay.

1) Players should be told that if the ball's on the ground to disregard any whistle and get the ball. They can't hit another person but they can go for the ball. That way, if there's an "inadvertant whistle" recovery of the ball can still be reviewed by replay.

2) Replay should be like the college rule. The booth reviews every play and can change it at any time. Coaches only have one challenge they can use if the booth doesn't make the call first.

3) Pass interference needs to be a reviewable call.
If the NFL is going to keep the rule where the ball is placed at the point of the foul or on the 1 yard line if the penalty is in the endzone, then the call must be reviewable. It was clear from the reply in the Dallas/Philly Monday night game that the Philly player committed the interference in the endzone but the Dallas player was called for the penalty. (And I say this as a Dallas hater!)

Jimmie :

As a Washington Redskin fan for 56 seasons, I have always believed that the Redskins have to beat the other team and the refs. I have always considered Ed Hochuli one of the worst refs in the league. When he referees the Redskin games I know that the Skins will lose. I will never forget that game in Indianapolis 6-8 years ago, when the Redskins had the Colts twice in 3rd and long and Peyton Manning rolled to his right looking for a receiver downfield and a Redskin defender pushed Manning out of bounds to stop the play and Hochuli called 15 yard penalties on both plays. The Colts went down and scored touchdowns after those made up calls. Replays showed that Manning was 1-2 yards inbounds when he was forced out of bounds. No hard hits were involved. These calls cost the Redskins the game and home field advantage in the playoffs that season.
Do not forget a couple of years ago, when Joe Gibbs had to throw the red flag to question the spot of the ball against Dallas. I had watched one ref spot the ball one to yards forward of where it should have been on third down again and again for the Cowboys that day. Gibbs finally questioned the spot on one crucial drive and won the challenge.
Last year in the Redskin loss against New Eangland, I saw 6 New England drives on third down end up 1-3 yards short of a first down only to come back after the commercial to find New England with a first down. Those drives all ended in scores for New England.
How many people remenber the game in Dallas in 1979 when the Redskins began the game with a safety. It should have been 2 points for the Redskins and Redskins ball. The refs huddled and then put the ball on the five yard line with no explanation of why the safety was taken away. On third and long the Dallas quarterback threw a long pass 20-30 yards out of bounds over Barry Wilburn who was 20 yards closer to the ball than the Dallas receiver. The refs called pass interference on the Redskin's Wilburn. Dallas kept the ball and scored a touchdown on the drive and eventually won the game.
Hochuli gave that game that San Diego won Sunday to Denver in Denver. He used the whistle rule so he could admit the mistake without having to correct it.

Live w/It :

The problem is that the players are taught from Pop Warner to the Pros that once the whistle blows, the play is over. This is as much for protection as for judiciousness, because if play is "allowed" to continue after a whistle, there are going to be body parts all over the field.

The rules can't reasonably say that play must continue until somebody covers the ball because Denver could have simply said, "We would have recovered the ball, but we stopped play because the whistle blew."

Hoculi is an excellent ref, but he made a wrong call. Hey, it happens, and it's part of the game. Besides, if it all went perfectly, there would be 26 teams winning the Superbowl every year, and we wouldn't have anything to biatch about.

Jimbo Jones :

I gave up on the NFL a long time ago because it's the one game that keeps getting sillier and sillier -- as far as technology integration is concerned -- every year. A previous poster tongue-in-cheek-ily said it better than I could: they should just put sensors in the ball and do away with officials entirely.

I mean, really: this is why rugby and Australian Rules football is so much better: real people, playing on real grass, no pads, human officiating, no bullsh*t timeouts for commercials, no $500,000 CGI animations between downs. Just a bunch of dudes chasing after a ball and knocking each other over in the process. THAT's football!

Jim :

Go to the college replay/review system. It's fast, it's easy, and none of this would have happened.

Bender :

The problem in too many cases is refs eager to blow the whistle. They need to put their whistles in their pockets.

Robert Miles :

They should make all plays available for replay. Since they now have a time limit and only two reviews per team, it would not take any longer to review any play. Who knows, they get so many replays wrong, I don't know if that would even matter.

Just Mike :

The fix is so straightforward, even whistle-happy refs won't get it wrong: "There's no such thing as an incomplete pass behind the line of scrimmage." Any pass that goes to the ground without reaching the line of scrimmage is live, whether the result of a whiff (like Cutler's), dropped pass (whether forward or backward), tipped pass, or pass that strikes an offensive lineman. If it's on the ground before crossing the line of scrimmage, it's live until covered.

Fred M. :

There should be no whistles during the entire game, except for scores, the end of quarters, and the end of halfs. These guys are too out of shape, anyway! And that would cut down on those annoying commercials and the need for commentators to fill in dead air space. If the teams don't like the final result, let them do the American thing, and sue each other.

For a little additional excitement, release hungry lions onto the field in the 4th quarter.

Louis Levario :

Although, I use to live in the Denver area,
this problem has happen between the Oakland Raiders and now San Diego, what good are this ref when you have six of them in the field, you mean to tell me that none of this fellow can override the ref decision..What a said state of affairs.

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