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Hochuli's Fumbled Call

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Ed Hochuli is one of the most respected officials in the NFL. He has worked two Super Bowls and many playoff games during his 19-year career. He also is perhaps the league's most recognized official thanks to a physique that's more chiseled than some players.

And yesterday Hochuli was at the center of an officiating controversy that contributed heavily to Denver's 39-38 victory over visiting San Diego.

Trailing 38-31, the Broncos had driven to the Chargers 1-yard line in the final minute. On second and goal, quarterback Jay Cutler rolled right and cocked his arm back to throw. Before his arm went forward, the ball fell out in what appeared to be a fumble. Hochuli, however, blew his whistle before San Diego recovered and ruled it an incomplete pass.

Replays clearly showed Cutler had fumbled, but because Hochuli had blown his whistle, he had no choice except to place the ball at the spot where it hit the ground. Instant replay rules do not allow the opponent to gain possession in those situations.

Two plays later, Cutler completed a four-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal to cut the lead to one. Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan elected to try the two-point conversion, and Denver converted when Cutler completed a throw to Royal for the final margin.

Hochuli admitted his error on the field and to Chargers Coach Norv Turner, who was not satisfied with the explanation.

"Ed came over, the official, and said he blew it. And that's not acceptable to me," Turner told reporters. "This is a high-level performance game, and that's not acceptable to have a game decided on that play."

What's your reaction to Hochuli's blown call?

By Gene Wang  |  September 15, 2008; 3:13 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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What more can anyone say. He blew it. He admitted he blew it right then and there. Does Turner want him to fall on a sword? Norv, how about all those calls you blew?

Posted by: Say it ain't so | September 15, 2008 7:33 AM

The first bad call was more important..so the review machine isn't working? Well, CBS had three cameras that showed that the reciever was down...why doesn't the review 'shield' thingy also include the TV feed just incase there is a technical break down?

Rob

Posted by: Rob | September 15, 2008 8:55 AM

He should have made it right by correcting his mistake.

Posted by: Ralph Kramden | September 15, 2008 9:01 AM

That Ref should die slow

Posted by: Miguel | September 15, 2008 9:06 AM

Refs miss calls in EVERY game. This one happened to be high profile. Ed did the only thing he could do "by rule the ball is placed on the spot of the fumble" Don't think that he feels good about this. He did the best he could and he made a mistake. Its too bad for the Chargers but if they had stopped Denver previous to that point on the field or stopped them before the touchdown, or stopped them on the conversion, the Chargers would have won. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, sometimes its windy, sometimes refs blow calls, its part of the game.

Posted by: Its part of the game | September 15, 2008 9:11 AM

I have played and I have coached, but SORRY, it NEVER comes down to one blown call, one dropped pass, or one missed tackle. I say you should have done a better job throughout the game an the finale minutes would all be a moot point. If you let it stay close or unable to pull away, then you need to go back to practice. We all could review the tapes and find 20-30 things that in the grand scheme, "might" have changed the out come.

Posted by: BigEDog | September 15, 2008 9:13 AM

On the other hand, the refs were not responsible for all of the other touchdowns given up by San Diego. Better defense and the Broncos don't drive that far with a minute left.

Posted by: Crazy Guggenheim | September 15, 2008 9:13 AM

Hochuli has always been the "darling" of the NFL because of his rugged, all-American looks...but that didn't mean he was a good ref in any way.

Fans have seen him blow call after call in game after game, but it's only an issue when your team is on the receiving end of his bad calls.

He may be respected in the NFL, but there are few fans that think that Hochuli is deserving of any respect.

Posted by: Rev. Ike | September 15, 2008 9:16 AM

People make mistakes

Referees = People

Therefore, referees make mistakes. It happens, he admitted it, and the current rules dictated he had no other option than what he had done.

Moving on...

Posted by: Jonathan | September 15, 2008 9:18 AM

The ref may have blown a call, but the game is won or lost on more than one play. The Chargers defense gave up 39-pts, eight of them with less than 1-minute left in the game. They have no-one to blame, but themselves.

Posted by: vade | September 15, 2008 9:19 AM

Denver fans should include a generous tip this week for Ed Hochuli; his recurrent pattern of giving controversial calls to the Broncos (clearly in error as shown by CBS camera work) have exceeded the bounds of acceptable refereeing.

Posted by: Caleb | September 15, 2008 9:19 AM

It's like what the announcers said after the blown call: all San Diego has to do is play a little football and the blown call is irrelevant.

Posted by: Tyrone Biggums | September 15, 2008 9:22 AM

Hochuli has always been an arrogant ¶rick. I'm glad he's being shown for the fraud that he is. Maybe he can retire, stare into his mirror & work on his biceps full-time now.

Posted by: Red Cashion | September 15, 2008 9:22 AM

Unfortunately, there were two more calls that changed the tenor of the game. If one were to review the game, the first missed call that resulted in a change of possession on the chargers end of the field that resulted in a touchdown. Second was the "face mask" call that stopped chargers in their tracks... leading to another Denver touchdown and finally the fiasco at the end. SO.. 21 pt gift from the officiating crew created by obvious mistakes or bias was Denvers prize.

Posted by: Dandy | September 15, 2008 9:23 AM

To: Ralph Kramden

What should he have done? Since players learn to stop when the whistle blows, an inadvertent whistle makes anything that happens AFTER the whistle irrelevant. If we're going to penalize players for hits that occur just after the whistle, then you also have to accept that the whistle (inadvertent or not) must be the final arbiter of when the play officially stops. It no longer matters who fell on the ball.

So, with that being the case, what is an official supposed to do? "Well, it seemed likely that if I hadn't blown the call, the Chargers PROBABLY would have recovered the fumble, so we're going to give the ball to them." That would be ridiculous.

As others have said, if either team comes to the end of a game and a bad call can decide who wins and who loses, neither one of them truly deserved to win. If there's a correction that *could* be made, it would be to call the game a tie, but even that discounts the fact that the Chargers failed to stop them.

I predict that the end result of this is that officials are going to be less likely to blow the play dead, even when they feel that it should be. Instead, they'll err to the side of the non-call, and then allow instant replay to correct that. Even that's flawed, as there are countless situations where the lack of a call cannot be reversed. - Tim

Posted by: TimTheFoolMan | September 15, 2008 9:24 AM

Fine him!

Posted by: Gregg | September 15, 2008 9:26 AM

The ref blew a call. The San Diego defense (or lack thereof) lost the game by allowing 39-pts.

Posted by: wahoo | September 15, 2008 9:29 AM

Let them play...dammit! The incomplete pass/fumble could have been ruled on after the fact. No one was in danger of getting hurt by letting the play continue. Hochuli really blew it on that one.

Posted by: Kev | September 15, 2008 9:30 AM

A 5th-round kicker misses a FG in preseason, he is cut. Hochuli completely blew a call that wasn't tough to make. He had a clear sightline, there were only 2 players involved, and he panicked and blew his whistle early. Cutler was in no danger of getting hit or sacked. Ed choked. He should be sent back to Arena ball, or Pop Warner. The integrity of the league is already at issue, because journeyman teachers and insurance agents routinely blow calls that determine the outcomes of games. Fire or suspend Ed!

Posted by: Fred | September 15, 2008 9:31 AM

We are trying to turn televised sports into video games where everything is always fair and the official's calls are always 100% correct.
All we are doing is taking the fun and unpredictability out of our games.

Posted by: Chris | September 15, 2008 9:32 AM

In cases like this, he shouldn't have blown the whistle, they could have reviewed the fumble call and give the ball back to Denver. When the reftard does blow the play dead they should give it to the recovering team at the spot of the recovery.

Posted by: Dave | September 15, 2008 9:33 AM

Looked to me like the referee's had money on the Bronco's. I think the game should be decided by the teams playing, not crooked ref's.

Posted by: Jim | September 15, 2008 9:38 AM

I look at it this way. Yes, it's only a game, but it's also a game where people get paid for their jobs and that includes the officials.

Just as any one of of us would find ourselves in hot water with the boss and facing penalties, be it a suspension without pay or some other action, so should Mr. Hochuli find himself in hot water for something so minor even a volunteer for a Pop Warner game wouldn't have made the mistake.

This wasn't a case of a "close" call. This was an obvious and basic call so, personally, it doesn't fall into the "blown call" category for me. There's no way this guy could have believed it was something other than what it was unless he just wasn't watching or was distracted.

In this case, "I'm sorry" isn't good enough and Mr. Horchuli should face disciplinary action or be sent back to a lower level position for part of the year.

I watched two games this weekend, one college and one pro where the officiating was obviously inferior and am disheartened officiating has reached this new low.

Posted by: Buck | September 15, 2008 9:39 AM

Objectively (I'm a Bills fan) the Chargers were robbed by the malfunctioning review equipment and the blown call. The Viking also had some bad calls go against them as well, what is wrong with the officiating this year!

Posted by: annie | September 15, 2008 9:41 AM

who really cares? The NFL has become little more than glorified entertainment for the masses & gross profiteering for the ultra rich. There are far better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Posted by: Rob Davis | September 15, 2008 9:42 AM

This is why I watch College Football... much more meaning in every game!

Posted by: Todd | September 15, 2008 9:44 AM

39 points?.......Hmmm?......Yes, this was most surely the ref's fault....not prima donna coach and prima donna players who equally gave up all those points.... be sure not to forget blaming George Bush, who obviously sent in all the plays and the dog that ate our homework on the way to Oz. Go Colts !!

Posted by: jojo | September 15, 2008 9:45 AM

I suppose the point is that refs should be trained in those situations not to blow the whistle until a player is downed with the ball. The whistle overrules replay and therefore should be used more sparingly.

Posted by: Dylan | September 15, 2008 9:46 AM

So goes the game. I am sure the big babies in the NFL can accept this little error in judgement!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Bill Peck | September 15, 2008 9:46 AM

Saw it on TV. Between the two badly blown calls, either one of which was enough to twist the outcome, probably the most embarrassing game in NFL officiating history.

Posted by: JD | September 15, 2008 9:49 AM

They should still be overturn the call even if the ref blew the whistle.

Posted by: Charles Hansing | September 15, 2008 9:50 AM

Hochuli made a mistake. He's human it happens. He admits to it and there was nothing he could do about it. I think anyone could have botched that call. And frankly his mistake was nothing compared to the mistakes made by the Chargers defense. Neither team played well defensively and neither really deserved the win. The gutsy move for a 2 point conversion would have turned out much different had San Diego actually been covering the receivers. And in those final 24 seconds of the game San Diego did make a really valiant effort to score 1 more TD and they were close. Maybe now after losing 2 games in the final seconds the Chargers will reevaluate their defense and hopefully come back much stronger in the remaining weeks.

Posted by: Sarah | September 15, 2008 9:51 AM

The question is why he blew the whistle and called incomplete in the first place. The ball had no forward momentum, was not directed toward a Bronco offensive player and both the defensive player and the QB were going for the ball as if it were live. To completely ignore what your eyesight is telling is either a brain freeze or a predilection to calling the play before it occurred. This was certainly not one of those plays where you have a quick whistle to protect the QB. I think Ed and the NFL has more to answer for then OOPS! I wonder if Ed's adversaries in the courtroom would get away with saying oops,

Posted by: Robert | September 15, 2008 9:52 AM

yep, san diego got jobbed. its too bad, but move on, its a game, not baghdad on a hot day.

Posted by: leon | September 15, 2008 9:53 AM

Yes, the ref screwed up---they all do but so do the players. Yes,they all get paid for doing a job. The main point is that they get paid whether they win or not----just not as much. Now that the players become huge media stars with the money they bring in @ I can no longer afford to go to a game but have to watch on TV I am beginning to lose my luster for the sport.

Posted by: Karol | September 15, 2008 9:55 AM

i have to agree but also disagree. ed did the best job he could. they are human and make mistakes 2. it was his fault yea, but for that last plays. the rest of the game was a result of their playing. in any case, yes most games dont come to just one play, but this one did. and it happens, oh well
shit happens

Posted by: rob | September 15, 2008 9:57 AM

Sports are hardly my speciality, but I found myself watching the last few minutes of this game. Even I, a grandmother with limited knowledge of the game, could see that the Denver quarterback had not begun his pass but merely dropped the ball somewhat behind him. It was obvious to the millions who watched the game on TV that it was a fumble. But just because some referee made the mistake of blowing his whistle, the wrong team was "awarded" the game by what I call "default." There must be some recourse to settle this matter fairly! The stakes are too high to allow a careless referee to make the decision on who wins or loses.

Posted by: formerrepublican | September 15, 2008 9:58 AM

It might make a great great sound bite to say one play doesn't win or lose a game. In this case it was two plays (the non-working reply system too).

But in the reality of highly competitive professional sports, one play can win or lose a game. It doesn't take much to tip the balance between two very close teams.

There is nothing to do that can fix either of these errors and it is part of the game but it doesn't change the fact that the refs gave this game to Denver.

Posted by: arctromba | September 15, 2008 10:02 AM

I think the faulty replay machine was worse. Why couldn't the ref just look at the TV replay?

That blown call led to a Bronc's TD. Denver had this game handed to them. If I was a Charger fan... I'd stop watching the NFL.

Posted by: Dave | September 15, 2008 10:04 AM

It's obvious and he acknowledge that he blew the call.So why is written on stone that he can't correct his mistake?

Posted by: macbee | September 15, 2008 10:05 AM

I agree that if it was 1 blown call, you move on. But there were literally 22 points scored off of 2 blown calls and 1 very iffy penalty (the not-so-much facemask). All the people saying, "Quit your crying" are obviously happy with the outcome. Unfortunately, this can happen to any team. The bigger problem here is that there has got to be repercussions for bad officiating. The NFL, if it does not act, is simply shrugging it's shoulders and saying, "so what?". I like Hochuli, but he screwed up several times, and he should be fined or suspended for a game. I do not want to see him in the Super Bowl EVER AGAIN.If refs knew there were consequences, maybe they'd be better.

Posted by: Lyss | September 15, 2008 10:06 AM

Did you see that the Pats still smoked the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, without Brady! This was probably because the Pats stole the video tape from the instant replay machine in Mile High stadium, and used it to spy on Favre this week. Therefore the Chargers were the unfortunate victim of the thievery and the Jets were really the ones robbed here...

Posted by: Pats_Fan | September 15, 2008 10:07 AM

The NFL needs to step in and reverse this decision. Give the win to San Diego.

There is no way that Denver should get this W.

Posted by: Dave | September 15, 2008 10:09 AM

The Competition committee needs to look at how the replay rules can be changed so that such a case COULD be reviewed, rather than not being able to review anything once the whistle was blown. Smart people can figure this out--like the "tuck "rule.

Posted by: jmsbh | September 15, 2008 10:10 AM

As a former official, I know what Ed Hochuli is telling himself this morning: that he broke the cardinal rule of officiating, which is to never affect the outcome of the game. And he would be right in saying that. I'm sure he received a failing assessment from the NFL for this game, and probably won't get a playoff game this year.

However, you'll have a very tough time naming a better official at any level in any sport. That he's been able to sustain his high performance through so many years is a tribute to his consistency, integrity, and work ethic. He also didn't try to hide behind the league or a bad explanation - he admitted he made a mistake. I admire Ed Hochuli a great deal.

Posted by: Tommo | September 15, 2008 10:14 AM

Hochuli (and all other referees) would do well to not blow the whistle anytime there is even a nominal chance that a quarterback lost the football via a fumble. Because replay is almost always spot on when reviewing a quarterback's forward throwing motion (or lack thereof), erring on the side of caution (i.e., assuming it is a fumble and allowing play to continue to its organic end) is the correct decision each and every time.

Posted by: Ian | September 15, 2008 10:16 AM

Any of you guys writing posts attacking Mr. Hochuli for his mistake might want to try being in his shoes. Referees make mistakes and you should not hate somebody just because they are big and muscular and get a lot of air-time. If you want perfection in calls then try to find somebody who is perfect. Good luck....

Posted by: Ted Johnson | September 15, 2008 10:16 AM

Things that make you go hmmm...this was Hochuli's 1st Broncos game in 7 YEARS because the last time he worked a Denver game so many bad calls were made against the Broncos they blackballed him.

It wasn't just the Hochuli call at the end of the game - it was the Chambers catch that they said Champ intercepted BUT they couldn't review it b/c the equiment wasn't working! Bad calls were responsible for a 15 point swing.

And Hochuli's whistle is totally inexcusable - especially considering that Cutler's fumble went BACKWARDS so even if he thought it was an incomplete pass, it would still be a live ball b/c it was a LATERAL.

Posted by: yougottabekiddingme | September 15, 2008 10:17 AM

It wasn't even the worse ref call of the weekend! The overturn of the fumble by Fresno St. against Wisconsin was horrible!

Posted by: Outside Viewer | September 15, 2008 10:19 AM

Ed Hochuli should be fined. I'm sure there must be some mental anguise today, but he should also give up a paycheck or two. What he did was take the game away from the players. Sure San Diego should have played better. They should have overcome the shock of a blown call and defended the two pt conversion. But Ed Hochuli should nor be payed for such a quick, unsubstansiated call. He should eat the whistle.

Posted by: azmark | September 15, 2008 10:20 AM

He made a mistake. It's just a game. At least he admitted he screwed up. In the real world if a mistake is made in some professions it could cost people their lives. So people grow up, it will be another football game, but you could never get another life.

Posted by: mc | September 15, 2008 10:20 AM

NFL should correct their mistake and let real winner win the game.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 10:22 AM

I saw the game and watched intently the "bad call". Anyone with a brain should be able to figure out that WITH review and still a "bad" call. The FIX is in. San Diego had to lose and they did. I've seen it before and the explanation is not acceptable. This ref needs to have his financial records checked by the fbi and the sec. The fix was on and the game suffered.

Posted by: 2841 | September 15, 2008 10:25 AM

Ol' Ed Hochuli is kinda like John McCain,

They're both getting up there in age, and it's probably time for them to stop blowing every call/decision (even when given the opportunity to utilize hindsight)

They should both be retired.

Posted by: Andy Canada | September 15, 2008 10:27 AM

what if this was the superbowl ?
no replay available ?
two minute clock was disfuctional
really bad officials
typical denver BS / chop blocking
Ed H , should be either fined or fired for his bad calling
the chargers came back from against all odds & blew it because of two blown calls , F Denver & F the reffs ,

Posted by: BOLT MAN | September 15, 2008 10:29 AM

the whistle and the bad call are one in the same. they talk as if the whistle were some over-ruling judge on the sideline. if he makes the right call the whistle doesn't blow. why does the whistle not allow for reversing his bad call. as if the whistle were the Almighty and no one can reverse what judge whistle says.

totally ridiculous. it's a pretzel logic that boggles the mind.

NFL has to fix this quick.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 10:30 AM

The rules blew it.

Posted by: Spider | September 15, 2008 10:31 AM

the ref made a horrible call. its even worse than when da ref in da NBA admitted that he threw a game 4 one of da basketball teams. its sad

Posted by: ivan | September 15, 2008 10:32 AM

Shanahan got it right by going for 2. He didn't let the refs decide the game. The players had a chance to decide it on the field. Well Done.

Posted by: Kevin | September 15, 2008 10:38 AM

After reading ~20 rants about how the ref made a call that could change the game, Why not say something that someone in the later ~20 posts said that i didn't read:

Have the official who is looking at the replay have full control of the outcome of the play. Let them set it right. If it was a fumball, and the Charges recovered on the ~10. Let them rule that since that's what happened on the play.

Let the camera record, the ref's do the best job they can do possible. If there is a challenge let the ref's take another look at it to get it right. No ego involved, just make the game fair.

Posted by: James | September 15, 2008 10:40 AM

I'll tell you as a amateur sports official for over 10 years now (high school and junior college ball) no one on the planet feels worse about this than Ed Hochuli. Not Norv Turner, not Philip Rivers, but Ed Hohculi. Anytime you miss any call you feel sick to your stomach, but that is only compounded when you know that the call has cost another team the game.

Everyone keeps talking of fining or demoting him, but remember that the NFL has one of the most comprehensive official scoring and ranking systems in professional sports. That call very well could have cost Ed (and his entire crew) a shot at the playoffs. So yeah, not only did he blow the game, but he may have also blown a chance at a postseason assignment for himself and his crew. (Which of course, makes it hurt a little bit more for him)

Posted by: Adam Fischer | September 15, 2008 10:41 AM

maybe they should get everyone back on the field, set up the play exactly as it happened and on the count of 3, continue the game as it "should've" happened.

Posted by: lame | September 15, 2008 10:42 AM

The appropriate thing to do - not currently allowable I think according to the rules - would have been the official use his judgement (which they do on nearly every call) and determine whether his blowing of the whistle would have possibly impacted which team recovered the ball. In the fiasco at Invesco there is no question that his whistle did not impact the which team recovered of the ball. Regardless of the respect Hochuli has in the league - he has more than once put the screws to the Chiefs when playing the Broncos. He really should not be allowed to do Bronco games.

Posted by: Chief Fan - don't laugh | September 15, 2008 10:46 AM

Too many "judgement errors" for the salaries these so-called, "impartial", refs receive. In the long run, it boils down to one thing, Hochuli blows!

Posted by: Disgusted | September 15, 2008 10:47 AM

All of the Chargers fans are gonna say they got robbed. All of the Broncos fans are happy, even if they say the call was bad. Objectively, what happened happened. What do you want the NFL to do, reverse the end of the gam and say the Chargers won. That would be great, it really would, but it isn't going to happen.

In all fairness, it was a horrible call. I could have made that call, and I don't know even half the rule book. But, at the same time, he appologized. Yeah, it doesn't make up for how unfair the situation may seem, but that is all he can do. Apparently, according to the rule book (and I am no expert), he blew his whistle and because of that fact he had to rule the play in a certain way.

For all of those advocates of instant replay, go back 30 or 40 years. Instant replay wasn't a thought in anyones mind. Officiating was pure, there was no, I didn't like that call so lets look at it again. Referees had to get the calls right the first time and if they didn't, people lived with it. In this age of Instant Replay, everyone expects that the referees will always make the right calls. Get over it. This happens all the time. I have seen more real pass interference not called in the 20 years I have been alive than anything else. Yeah, that can change the outcome of a game, but in perspective, refs aren't gonna make 100% of the calls 100% of the time. A mistake was made, as a fan all we can do is move on.

Posted by: Ryan | September 15, 2008 10:49 AM

The NFL has become nothing more than a sick joke because the Officials decide more games than the players do. What ever happened to letting the players play the game instead of the morons in the striped shirts deciding the outcome?
As for Ed Hochuli, what punishment will he receive for his blatant blunder? Will the League fine him for being a complete quarterwit on the field? Not likely. Only the players face disciplinary action for their mistakes, not these striped clowns.
Yes, these errors cost the Chargers a game that they clearly won, but errors by officials have cost many other teams in the recent past. That's why the NFL has become such a joke as to be nothing more than professional wrestling on grass.

Posted by: Bob | September 15, 2008 10:50 AM

Norv Turner's still a head coach? Refs make mistates, Players drop balls, and coaches make bad calls. Unfortunately Norv isn't a good HEAD coach because he still doesn't realize that other than the owners that higher him he is accountable for his wins and loses. I think Turner is a football genius, but there is a lot more to coaching than X's and O's.

Posted by: Natyong | September 15, 2008 10:51 AM

Hey Norv, your team had two chances to win the game after that blown call. On one they gave up the touchdown, on the other they gave up the 2 point conversion. On seemingly the same play! Don't blame the ref for your players' inability to stop the Broncos. Suck it up and take responsibility for your defense.

Posted by: Sandy | September 15, 2008 10:52 AM

What a horrible call!!! I hate to see an important game decided by human error. In this situation, I think, the reference should have the authority to overturn "the whistle had blown" and make the correct call.

Posted by: bob mercer | September 15, 2008 10:54 AM

It was a reasonable mistake. The problem is that he was hidebound by rules that didn't allow him to make the situation right. I'm sure in the offseason the rules committee will look at this and next year officials will have the ability to grant a change of possession for these situations. Personally I think it's a fault of the entire rulebook philosophy. In soccer they have 17 rules and they give officials more ability to interpret them. Sometimes they make a bum call but generally their judgment is ok. Here we have the bum calls and the hidebound rules. You can't tell me this is better.

Posted by: Jef | September 15, 2008 10:58 AM

I love how Hochuli blowing a call is somehow Turner's fault because he's a poor coach. Interesting logic people. It happens, even the best refs make mistakes, but to have 2 blown calls affect the game so much is inexcusable. These are the things that need to be looked at when considering rule changes. The instant replay didn't work on the field but everyone watching TV in the booths upstairs could clearly see the call was blown. Shouldn't there be a rule allowing Hochuli to defer to the upstairs crew like in the final 2 minutes or a half? And blowing the play dead cancels a fumble? In many cases the whistle could make a huge difference but in that play? Come on, there was no one else near the ball. There should be room for a judgment call by the ref to fix his initial blown judgment call.

Posted by: Ridiculous | September 15, 2008 11:00 AM

This is a complete no-brainer! Where is it written in stone that a referee cannot reverse his call? Especially if he knows he's made a mistake -- in this case a mistake that cost the Chargers a game they otherwise deserved to win? I don't know whether its pride or ego in this part of the game, but it has no place in a contest between two battling teams. The game is about the players, ultimately, not the referees so the refs should have every incentive (beyond whatever is in place right now) to go back and make things right if it can be demonstrated that they "blew it"!

Posted by: iphoenix | September 15, 2008 11:04 AM

I assume that everyone who is ragging on Hochuli has never, ever made one single mistake in their entire lives.

Posted by: MM | September 15, 2008 11:05 AM

Hochuli made the call standing behind Cutler. He had no sightline to make that call/blow that whistle.

Posted by: Mike | September 15, 2008 11:09 AM

The ref should be fired!

Posted by: Neil | September 15, 2008 11:11 AM

Easy to fix..call the owners, discuss the play, change the rule to be reviewable and if spontaneous play continues after the whistle change the call. obviously spontaneous play continued in this instance. the new rule can be in place by Sunday what is the league waiting for?....this to happen in the Super Bowl?

Posted by: mike | September 15, 2008 11:13 AM

This call again raises the specter that the officiating, which is such an essential element of games, is kept hush hush and secret. It is time that fans demand that the whole process of evaluating officials performances be opened up to the light of day. When the Las Vegas oddsmakers adjust the odds based on the officiating crew assigned, it is time to publicly disclose the officiating crew evaluations.

Posted by: jdcolv | September 15, 2008 11:14 AM

After careful consideration. It was President Bush's and the GOP's fault.

Posted by: mickaroo2 | September 15, 2008 11:15 AM

Come on people, his call was ridiculous!
And NO its not just "he blew it lets move on"
he ruined the game for the Chargers! Along with that early "malfunction". Come on this game had to be fixed.
If denver fans are proud of their team for "winning" yesterday they need to re evaluate their lives.
Ed Hochuli needs to get fired NOW

Posted by: Liz | September 15, 2008 11:16 AM

It seems that there has been a steady decline in officiating prowess throughout professional sports, but not Hochuli...please....not Hochuli. That was one of the worst calls we're likely to see this season, but for a team like the Chargers to lose because of it (yes, they lost as a direct result of this one blown call) is absolutely heartbreaking.

Posted by: Master 8 | September 15, 2008 11:21 AM

This is no surprise to anyone who's paid attention to Hochuli for the past decade. He wins a lot of football games single-handedly. I'm just waiting for his bookie to come out from under a rug and expose him. Meanwhile, the league continues to suffer because his tenure demands that he gets respect--what a joke. I feel your pain, Chargers fans.

Posted by: Cal | September 15, 2008 11:23 AM

Games are never decided on one call. Refs are human and it's just as likely that they make an error of omission (missed calls) as commission (wrong calls). The only thing we can insist on is that the error is not deliberate and not a result of incompetence. Games are won or lost based on thousands of individual actions with the teams being responsible for the vast majority of them, and the refs relatively few. Blaming a competent ref for an honest mistake is juvenile. My advise. Grow up! If that's impossible, move to an island where you are the sole occupant. Then at least you have no one to blame but yourself.

Posted by: Merle | September 15, 2008 11:25 AM

They need to change the rules. Oh yeah, and the ref. But don't worry Chargers, everybody knows karma happens.

Posted by: inedat | September 15, 2008 11:27 AM

Ed Hochuli should be fired for gross incompetence.

Posted by: WSBlevins | September 15, 2008 11:31 AM

You must suspend Ed Hochuli for the rest of the season, change the rulebook before the 2009 season, and the NFL should apologize to the fans of the NFL, not just the San Diego Chargers. As a packers fan, I can only imagine how I would feel if we lost to the Bears on a blown call... Unbelievable

Die slow Ed Hochuli

Posted by: GoPackers | September 15, 2008 11:37 AM

of course the call was blown...not even Hochuli is disputing that point. What everyone seems to forget is how the supposed Super Bowl bound San Diego "super" Chargers failed to stop the touchdown pass and two point conversion that occurred after the blown call.

...so long as the Chargers have Phillip Cry Me a Rivers they will never win a Super Bowl.

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 11:41 AM

first i also agree that the official replay should be able to use media feeds to get the call right if the replay machine isn't operational. i mean there's an official replay booth upstairs right next to the media, why can't they make the call??? seems like a waste of resources and rip off for the players and fans. But, regardless of everyone out there that says he apologized for the blown call at the end of the game, so that's good that he admitted and recognized his mistake are delusional. if this happened to any of their teams they would respond just like every charger fan has on this message board. besides the fact that it seems unbelievable that a ref of his experience could think that a ball that comes out of culter's hands looking more like a kickoff (end over end)than a pass could actually be an incomplete pass, the rule that when the whistle blows the play is dead should be amended, especially when the whistle doesn't effect the result of the play. what is the use of officially reviewing the last few minutes of the game (since they are considered the most crucial plays to the games outcome) when a blatant and obvious blunder can't be overturned. regardless of the rules the chargers got the shaft, period. no, there's no way to replay the end of the game or change the outcome, but honestly, if players can get fined thousands of dollars for unsportsman-like plays that are detrimental to the game, then that policy needs to be applied to the officials as well because this was definitely that. right now, other than a weekly "grading" of the officials by the nfl, they have no accountability at all. Hochuli should've been subject to some kind of such a policy. (i imagine even if he would've been fined he could just ask the broncos front office to pick up the bill since he pretty much gave them the game.) furthermore, these weekly "gradings" by the nfl should be more closely examined and ref's that are consistently getting calls wrong or making ridiculous errors should be bumped from the league and go to the cfl or high school ball or something, but they don't belong in the nfl. norv turner was right in his statement that the nfl is too high level performance of a sport to allow games to be decided by erroneous calls. especially calls and situations that have been emphasized and pointed out specifically by the league, i.e. not being too quick on the whistle to stop a play. maybe if he quit worrying so much about how tight of a striped shirt he can squeeze his 'roided body into, he could spend a little more time practicing and studying the position that he's getting paid heaps of money to perform at it's best.

Posted by: corey | September 15, 2008 11:47 AM

Ed Hochuli is one of the best refs in the league, and reviews of his plays consistently show proper calls. That's why he gets to ref big-time games, not because people like his muscles. So for those folks on here claiming that Hochuli blows calls all the time, I'd like to know where the hell they think they're getting their evidence and why they think they're better at reviewing calls than the NFL employees who do it regularly.

Norv Turner should quit complaining about the refereeing and start asking himself why his defense allowed the Broncos to score on a post route to Royal. Then he should ask why they allowed precisely the same route to come open in the middle of the field AGAIN and gave up a two-point conversion that should have won them the game. Then maybe he should get down to business, and coach up his team so they don't blow it again. Whining about the referees is the classic loser's gambit, a cop-out designed to distract from the deficiencies that really caused the loss.

Posted by: turkishd | September 15, 2008 11:48 AM

MOVE FWRD??

FACT: Charger hold Denver to 0 points in the 2nd half with out the Ed Hochuli blown call.

Ed Hochuli did not blow the whistle when the ball hit the ground.

Ed Hochuli waited until the Chargers were less then a foot away from the ball to blow the play dead.


Denver got the win but do not tell me we still had a chance after that play... I tell you what Let me kick you as hard as I can in the balls and then you tell me that its in the pass one min later.


Denver you are not that good, you barley "beat" us without our star lineman and star running back...

Do your bragging now like the weak ass Raiders. We will do our at the end of the season

Posted by: Ed Hochuli blows | September 15, 2008 11:55 AM

I know the charger would have won that game. If the call was called correctly the chargers would have control of the ball and put a knee down end of game...you losers who think othewise are just stupid. Everyone knows the chargers were cheated and I'm sure someone received a nice little payoff for those calls. That was the chargers win period.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 11:56 AM

This has nothing to do with the Chargers (quit your bashing... this has nothing to do w/Rivers) and everything to do with the integrity of the game. If it is a fumble (it was) Chargers get the ball, take a knee three times, and win. No Denver TD, no 2 pt. conversion. Ed Hochuli changed the outcome of this game and everyone knows it. That should never happen.

Does the NFL have the guts to change the outcome? No. Should they? Probably. Again, this can happen to any team, and the NFL should seriously consider how bad this looks.

Posted by: Lyss | September 15, 2008 11:57 AM

bragging at the end of the season? haha...have the Chargers been in a Super Bowl the past two seasons?---the past two seasons they were expected to win it all? you know the answer.

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 11:58 AM

I have been a ref for over 10 years and I've made mistakes. On ocassions the rule book has ammendments which lets me correct the mistake; however, on many instances, the rule book is specific and we cannot correct the mistake. Sometimes the only thing we are allowed to do is to say "I made a mistake"

Posted by: Ismael | September 15, 2008 11:59 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcFtcoo0ic4

Posted by: lessa | September 15, 2008 12:08 PM

Players are cut or benched for a mistake such as the refs in the game .Hochuli is a prima donna among the refs. not his own doing. Madden has helped him greatly. If he was an ugly or fat guy, there would be more complaints here and more asking for his head on a platter. human perception. Worst game i ever saw due to refs interference.

Posted by: Eaglefan | September 15, 2008 12:08 PM

mo·men·tum [moh-men-tuh m] 1.force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events..Guess what happens when that momentum is stopped???

Back in 2001, Tony Dungy sent a letter to the NFL asking that Ed Hochuli no longer officiate Bucs games after blowing an onside kick call and not resetting the play clock in two games that the Bucs ended up losing. Now you see why? the Chargers were robbed twice. You prepare yourself all week for the team you will play. True, things dont always go as planned so you make adjustments...adjusting to the fact the refs will screw you over twice in one game isn't in the preperations!
In closing "let the players decide the outcome not the refs!!! hope Hochuli didn't have a bet with Tim Donaghy."


Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 12:10 PM

I see everyone saying about how San Diego's defense being able to prevent the loss. I don't see it like that. Thats part of the game. One team being better in an area than the other team. Both teams have exceptional offense. Neither team performed well defensively. With that being said, the first call on the so called "interception", could have most likely turned into points for San Diego. And the ridiculous whistle for the dead ball on the obvious fumble by Cutler was the game winning decision. Plain and simple..the Chargers won the game..

Posted by: Matt | September 15, 2008 12:11 PM

Yes, the ref is human; yes, yes,yes to all the other rationalizations offered here.
But the fact is that call cost San Diego the game. And the problem is the rule which rationally should not apply in a case like this. The whistle did not stop anyone who could have changed the SD player covering that fumble! It was a clear case of a fumble that only the SD player could have covered.
It is easy to understand the referee calling it an incomplete pass, but the rule should be adjusted! But the woeful
NFL administration will do nothing!

Posted by: Joe E | September 15, 2008 12:15 PM

To those who say one call doesn't make a difference, that had the Chargers not allowed 39 points it wouldn't have mattered, you're right - and wrong. That call led to the final 8 points. The Chargers started sluggishly (again), but the fact is they had overcome the blown call in the first quarter, and the defense did not allow a second half point by the Broncos until "the call". Had that call been correct, the Broncos would have dominated the first half, and the Chargers the second - and won the game for their effort.

Posted by: Rick | September 15, 2008 12:16 PM

Ed Hochuli made two horrible calls in this game!! The first mistake the so called "fumble" after replays clearly show that the play was done. (Arm hits the grass plays done ... no fumble!! But ofcourse the machine breaks and nothing can be done .....

Then the forth quarter with Cutlers attempt to throw the ball which should have been a fumble. Enough of this b.s non sense of people trying to cover that one up even if your a Denver fan Ed even said he made the wrong call!!

...........

Not even in this game ... Ed also ref'd the Oakland Raiders vs Denver game a week previous and he had two incredibly bad calls that game too!! Why Ed is "so great" among NFL refs I have no idea he has already made a handful of mistakes this season and it has already just begun !! In other words get ready football fans if Ed Hochuli is your ref get ready for a handful of bad calls!!

Posted by: just another sports fan | September 15, 2008 12:20 PM

Ed Hochuli blew the call in the 4th. Had he got it right, Denver loses. It stinks, but the refs are part of the game. His crew blew a call in the 1st AND the replay equipment malfunctioned, it stinks, but it too is part of the game. Everyone keeps saying the Chargers gave up 39 points and that's why they lost. I don't think so. the Broncos gave up 38 points and mistakes by the official handed them the ball game. We get a W, the Chargers get robbed, and hopefully the officials get their act together before the next game. I love a win - any win, but the bottom line is the refs were terrible all game, and we won despite ourselves.

Posted by: Denver Fan | September 15, 2008 12:21 PM

There have been many good comments about what happened. I too have been an official for some time, and I have made mistakes that are correctable, and some that are not.
There is one thing that every football fan should know, you do not need a whistle to end a play!:
A play is over whenever the ball becomes dead, which is by rule, and one of which is when a whistle is blown (inadvertent or not). A ball also becomes dead when a pass is incomplete, a player is down by rule, the ball goes out of bounds etc. You do not need a whistle for the play to be over and the ball to become dead. In other words, you can have an unnecessary roughness call for a late hit, even if there is no whistle, since the ball is already dead.

Now more to the point, players are taught, INCORRECTLY, to play until the whistle blows. So officials have to make split second decisions on when to blow the whistle, and Hochuli was doing his job when he judged (granted incorrectly) that the play was an incomplete pass and the ball was dead by rule, and to protect all players he blew his whistle, as protocol dictates.
Some comments have said that it would not have hurt to let the play go on, since it was a close call and there is review. That misses the point of instant replay. Instant replay is to overrule the ruling on the field, as made at first impression of the official. Officials are required to make the call at the moment it happens. If you start saying, well just let the play go on because there is replay, then the quality of the officiating is going to go down the tubes. There is too much subjectivity involved, and there will be too many plays challenged and too many overturned. The limits on replays are to make teams choose which calls are the most important and/or likely to be overruled, it is in nobody's interest to have officials not making immediate rulings on the field.

Hochuli, like all refs, made a bad call. Bad calls are a part of every sport. Mistakes are a part of everyone's life. Hochili did, however, do the right thing by ruling on the play right when it happened. That is what he is required to do, and that is what he did.

Posted by: ref man | September 15, 2008 12:22 PM

Bad Call, could it be steriods

Posted by: David | September 15, 2008 12:24 PM

Scoreboard...thats all that counts and thats all that matters for the rest of your lives!

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a big Baby | September 15, 2008 12:25 PM

i keep seeing everyone say that the chargers defense shouldn't have let the broncos to score at the end of the game after the ridiculous blown fumble at the end of the game. this is true and they had their shot, and didn't hold, but the real issue is that the game should've never come to that point. the fumble was recovered by the chargers at the exact moment that the whistle was blown. (if you don't believe me just use your tivo once on the many times that the play is being aired today) the whistle was late, had no effect on the play, and ruined the game!! to have a game decide on what i think is the worst blown play i've seen in years is shameful for the nfl. if the rule book determines how this situation should be handled, then it should be changed. fans shouldn't have to pay $75+ for tickets to a game and have it trashed at the end, only to get and "oops, I made a mistake" excuse. next time at least give us the courtesy of a reach around.

Posted by: corey | September 15, 2008 12:29 PM

My problem with this is the first line of the story. Ed Hochuli absolutely stinks as a ref and always has. Not that it would matter this year because the Chiefs stink so bad, but over the years Hochuli's anti-Chief bias has been blatant and ridiculous. He blows altogether, not just calls!

Posted by: Jay | September 15, 2008 12:35 PM

nobody should ever spend $75 to go to the stadium and cheer for the chargers. you might as well give the money to a charitable cause...like Father Joe.

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 12:36 PM

The game should be replayed.

Posted by: Robert Castle | September 15, 2008 12:38 PM

Hochuli should be fined, suspended, and not allowed any post-season for a long, long time.

The NFL has created the illusion that they
care about "getting it right" with replay.
They obviously don't care about it, or else
the inadvertent whistle would not be a possibility to prevent the correct call from being made.

There is a fine line between all the competitive teams in the NFL. The Charger/Norv bashers think that the Chargers should be able to stop every play at will. When two extra, undeserved possessions are granted to the Broncos that account for 15 points, there are not
many teams that could overcome that.

Both teams deserved to win the game, and both teams deserved to lose the game based on their performances. I said their performances, not gifts from the referees.
You could make a case that neither team could stop the other very effectively, although it was clear that the Chargers held Denver scoreless in the 2nd half without Hochuli's help.

Charger fans have every right to feel that they were cheated (deliberately? Is Hochuli the NFL's version of Tim Donaghy?)

If the Broncos were on the receiving end of these bad calls, they would be screaming too.

And Norv has every right to feel victimized. His job, and his players jobs, is based on wins and losses. When someone else makes mistakes that could cost you your job, are you going to say to yourself "Get over it. Move on. Don't be a baby." I don't think so.

Posted by: The stench of vomit in the NFL is overwhelming | September 15, 2008 12:40 PM

Norv has a track record of losing games and compiling losing seasons...i don't believe Eddie was the ref for all of those games.

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 12:44 PM

I understand the refs make mistakes but really 2 huge "mistakes" in one game...The Donkeys didn't win they were given the game.

Posted by: J | September 15, 2008 12:46 PM

No one seems to bring up the bad call made in the first half. Technical difficulties on there instant replay rig. We should have had the ball in that situation as well. They should have the replay monitor up and working and tested well before a snap is even taken. The whole game was a mess. Two devastating calls that cost the Chargers the game. Sincerely, Pissed off San Diegan

Posted by: Jaret | September 15, 2008 12:48 PM

If you believe Ed Hochuli's conduct sunday should be reprimanded, please sign this petition in protest. Give it a digg, if you want the petition to reach more people. Let's light a fire under 'em.

http://digg.com/football/Protest_of_Ref_Conduct_Ed_Hochuli_Chargers_Broncos_Sept_14

Go Chargers. We will turn this season around.

Posted by: JR | September 15, 2008 12:49 PM

Stay classy San Diego and Chula Vista...since the fans don't care enough to keep the Chargers in San Diego.

Hey san diego, don't be upset because Ed has bigger biceps than Rivers

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 12:53 PM

NFL is hurt by this loss as well as the Chargers. Thousands of fans were watching this game intently and with an emotional investment. After this fiasco, many will ask themselves, as do I now, "Why bother watching?"

Jumping up with enthusiasm with each great play by your team, and feeling the hurt of every play that goes the other way, for four hours, and in the end none of it mattered because the most valuable player for the Broncos ends up being Hochuli who was responsible for the final outcome, and he cannot be tackled or stopped in any way.

Makes me out to be the fool for wasting my Sunday this way.

Posted by: Mike | September 15, 2008 12:57 PM

yeah don't try and tackle Hochuli...have you seen his guns?

by the way...the BRONCOS not the Chargers are 2-0!

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 12:59 PM

Hochuli is a chump! Not so much that he blew it at the end of a game, nor so much that his bad call made two huge game-hinging terrible calls for his officiating crew that game, but most of all because he knew what he did was unprofessional, unacceptable, and undeniable! It most certainly was correctable though, and with Hochuli's immediate public confession to Norv, and the fans, he has now become the NFL poster-boy of officiating chumps!

Anyone who thinks the Chargers could have done more to win the game wasn't watching the game in the first place.

Ed Hochuli should be fined, and suspended for blowing it, and falling short of the rules refs are to supposed to enforce, just as players can be fined and suspended for not abiding to them.

Ed CHOKE-uli USA!

Posted by: WHAT CAN'T BE DEIED SHOULD BE MADE RIGHT! | September 15, 2008 1:03 PM

Sure refs make mistakes because they are human. However what if this were the Superbowl and he made a call that basically decided who won or lost. What would people think then? What would the league do then? Players and teams work hard all year long and then to have a guy like Ed who is supposedly the best blow a call that changes the outcome of is game-not right. I know it's early in the season and there will be more blown calls. Hopefully this does not happen in the playoffs. Calls like the one in Denver call into question the integrity of the game.

Posted by: Ed | September 15, 2008 1:07 PM

Hey, Big Baby...

Me thinks the lady doth protest too much...

Posted by: Whistlerblowers anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:08 PM

ed wasnt playing in the game so he couldnt choke.

the chargers choked when they couldnt defend on the two point conversion...choked on a cow pie at Mile High!

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 1:12 PM

2 bad calls equaled 14 points. Stop blaming the Chargers D. They should have never been in that position. They came through, the system failed. My guess is we will see a review and change of the rules. Hmm... can anyone say Holy Roller?

Posted by: JTE | September 15, 2008 1:12 PM

Sure refs make mistakes because they are human. However what if this were the Superbowl and he made a call that basically decided who won or lost. What would people think then? What would the league do then? Players and teams work hard all year long and then to have a guy like Ed who is supposedly the best blow a call that changes the outcome of is game-not right. I know it's early in the season and there will be more blown calls. Hopefully this does not happen in the playoffs. Calls like the one in Denver call into question the integrity of the game.

Posted by: Ed | September 15, 2008 1:13 PM

hey charger fans...look what i found...its Ed and Brett Favre conspiring against the entire Charger organization...http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d8/Favre_Hochuli.jpg/200px-Favre_Hochuli.jpg

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:13 PM

forget all you "blah refs make mistakes blee blur". The rule should be changed that posession can be changed even after the whistle is blown, but continuation can not. And yes it WAS the game deciding event, not the 10 missed calls against the Bronco's before that and the malfunctioning replay. The Chargers survived past all that and the dead play whistle was the final blow. What more could they have done?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:14 PM

i will tell you what they didn't do...WIN

Posted by: Get a Real Quarterback not a Big Baby | September 15, 2008 1:16 PM

Call blown? Sure, but the ref's view was blocked by Cutler's body, and he saw the throwing motion. Immediate reaction: throwing motion, ball seen falling away a moment later when it clears the QB body, going forward, then bouncing sideways, incomplete pass, blow the whistle. Which is EXACTLY what he did. The call was blown because his angle was off, but no other official had the correct one on that play either--they're looking at other things, as is their job. Remember the Tuck Rule.

BUT, the Chargers did a post-Bartman Cubs reaction and didn't respond either, either on the rest of the Broncos drive, or their own bad play calling on their last-ditch attempt to get into field goal range. They did not rise to the occassion and overcome the adversity.

So they lost.

Posted by: Tannim | September 15, 2008 1:23 PM

Hochuli's officiating team was crap.

They should all be fined for HELPING the Bronco's win.

Two calls in the game MADE THE GAME.

Remember the "TUCK"...uh...who was that?

Hochuli. The NFL should remove replay if it's not going to be used to get to the bottom of what really happened and give the teams on the field the proper rulings.

What is replay for? To ignore in order to help a bookie in Vegas?

Oh well...after all....just like they would tell you.....the NFL...is just a business.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | September 15, 2008 1:30 PM

How much adversity do you expect the Chargers to overcome?

It seems to me that Denver's adversity was self administered, while the Chargers had a heaping bowl of stink set on them by the refs. 15 points in Denver's favor due to 2 horrible calls.

How much should you make a team overcome?

I know you sometimes win in spite of the refs, but that was ridiculous and any fan of the NFL should be disgusted. Hochuli needs to fined and or fired. There needs to be some consequences.

Posted by: How much is too much? | September 15, 2008 1:31 PM

here is a great quote from Wedding Crashers...

"Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion."

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 1:34 PM

Rule #77

Make sure and pay Hochuli in cash...

Posted by: Lyss | September 15, 2008 1:36 PM

It's called knock down the passes to Royal, blitz Cutler, and better play calling on the last drive.

That's overcoming adversity. Even without LT or timeouts the Chargers have the talent to run that two-minute drill, and they didn't execute right.

They let the blown call get to them.

Posted by: Tannim | September 15, 2008 1:37 PM

First off, let me say I’m not a fan of either of the teams involved in this game but watching the week 2 game between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers unfold, I was shocked when the outcome, in what was otherwise a great game, was decided by one man. The Head Referee!

The game's officiating crew was led by Ed Hochuli. Hochuli has been an NFL official for 18 years, and by many is considered the best in the business, though for those who pay attention to the other details in the NFL like officiating crews, it might seem that Hochuli over the years has shown a bias to certain teams. His integrity is unquestioned, and he's widely considered as one of the fairest refs in the league, but where in the world was his sense of 'doing the right thing' and being fair in this game?

I absolutely believe there were some serious mistakes made by the officials an Ed Hochuli on 3 key plays in this game and all 3 went uncorrected an ultimately decided the outcome of the game in favor of the Broncos.

Key Play # 1- A No Fumble Fumble

Early on in the game a Chargers player caught the ball and in the process of being tackled went to the turf and was clearly down(on TV video replay) , but the ball came out and was ruled a fumble on the field and possesion is given to the Broncos. Hochuli came back to say the review equipment wasn't working so the call couldn't be overturned, even though every replay showed the player was down and the Chargers should have maintained possesion. The Broncos went on to score a TD off of this first mistake by the officials.

Key Play #2 -Time Clock

Now we move to 2:00 to go in the 4th quarter with the Broncos trailing 38-31 after a Daren Spoles TD to put the Chargers back on top of an up and down game. The Broncos have a first down deep in Chargers territory. The game clock suddenly quits after one play past the 2 minute warning. Hochuli says set the clock to 1:52 but his own crew sets it to 1:42 instead, basically giving away 10 seconds at a crucial point in the game.

Key play #3- The Fumbled No Fumble

After a short rush by Pittman after the two minute warning, Denver has 2nd and goal at the San Diego 2. On the next play, Jay Cutler drops back and clearly fumbles the ball which is recovered and ran out of bounds by San Diego . The game should be over here after a few kneel downs by the Chargers.

But!!!! The plays isn't ruled anything on the field. The play is a fumble on the play by play of Fox gametrack, and ESPN gametrack, and even the announcers of the game know it’s a fumble. The replay shows Cutler lost the handle on the ball as his arm moves backwards and then the ball hits the ground before the Chargers player recovered it..

Hochuli comes back after a review (the equipment that mysteriously didn’t work earlier is working now). He says the play should have been ruled a fumble which is correct, but the whistle had blown(correct me if im wrong but I didn’t hear a whistle until the Charger player had recorded the fumble and went out of bounds) so the Broncos keep the ball but at the 10 yard line instead of the 2.

A QB fumble is either a fumble by rule or an incomplete pass (ala Tom Brady and the Tuck rule) neither applied here apparently because the whistle had blown?? If the whistle was blown, there should have no replay review to begin with. Either way it chould have been Chargers ball.

How can a mistake call be ignored early in the game because of faulty equipment, and then another obvious mistake call be corrected improperly and wrongly by the same faulty equipment late in the game on a crucial play? Again makes no sense.

The Broncos went on to score the decisive touchdown 2 plays later. Now we get back to the time issue thing around the 2 minute warning. With less than a minute to go, the Chargers after absolutely being robbed by Hochuli have gotten the ball near midfield with 20 seconds to go. 2 incomplete passes late the game is over. If the time had been set properly, they would have had one maybe 2 more plaus to get into field goal range and still win the game.

Am I the only that thinks the San Diego Chargers absolutely got ripped off by Ed Hochuli and his crew? The game's outcome should have come down to the play of the players on the field, not a few blatant and uncorrected mistakes by an official who is supposed to be the best in the NFL. Hochuli even admitted to Charger coach Norv Turner after the game that he had blown the call, and the Chargers should have had possession at that point.

Now ultimately. the game is decided by 60 minutes and many plays by each team, but with the parity in the NFL because of free agency, 3 major plays decided one way or the other WILL ALWAYS have a major impact on who wins and who loses. Contrary to what Mike Greenspire thinks, the Chargers and their fans have every right in the world to bit-ch, moan,groan and whine about this one. Or at the least, the NFL needs to take a serious look a the current replay rules. This year has already shown us with the facemask rule changes making average offensive teams look like juggernauts that the current rules system still has many flaws and loopholes..For Some reason, Mike Shanahan is almost always involved when one of these strange loopholes in the system decides a game one way or the other. Coincidence?

Posted by: Derek | September 15, 2008 1:40 PM

Tannim and Baby,

If this situation was reversed, you'd be apoplectic.

As football fans... think beyond yourselves.

The Broncos got a gift, and you know it. Next time Hochuli (or another ref) blows it, and your team is screwed, just remember this post.

Lots of your points were gifts, and you know it.

Posted by: Whistleblowers anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:41 PM

I read most of the comments and to those out there saying that Chargers should have done this or that and games don't come down to one play. That is obsurd.

Yes, OF COURSE they should not allow the other team to score and of course they should score more that is the intent every time every team in any sport takes the field. Please come up with something better than that.

The bottom line is that had the ref NOT BLOWN THAT CALL San Diego would have won the game. Period. End of story. So yes, the call did cost them the game.

Posted by: Ridicuolous | September 15, 2008 1:42 PM

Ed Hochuli is widely considered the best ref in the NFL, an accomplishment he has achieved with years of excellent performances. Alas, he is human - he missed a call.

At least he had the guts to admit his mistake, but that's "not acceptable" to Norv Turner?

The same Norv Turner who spent 8 TOTALLY INEPT years in Washington? Who was a disater in Oakland? Who still has a career record under .500? The real question should be

why does Norv Turner STILL have a job, and why do we STILL have to listen to his inverterate whining?

Yes, the Chargers finally won a playoff game last year, but did NOT get further than the previous year, when their superior record gave them a bye into the same round the

reached last year. And now, the are 0-2 this year, with two last minute losses (Turner must have the NFL record for "blown games" like this - seems like there were at

least 4 or 5 each year he was in DC).

Turner has proven, time and again, that he CAN'T perform as a head coach in the NFL. Yet, inexplicably, someone gave him yet another chance. And, he has shown, yet again,

that he isn't up to it, despite having a team that many experts have rated #1 in talent each of the past 2 years.

Its apparent that Turner must be a "likeable" guy. The media gives him a huge pass on his documented ineptitude, and NFL teams keep hiring him. I've sure he manages upward very well. However, he doesn't do his job very well. Indeed, by most accounts, Turner has shown, again and again, that he is among the worst head coaches in the NFL (not just currently, but historically), where the only objective gauge of performance is winning. By definition Turner is a LOSER, not a winner.

This is the individual who does not belong at this "high level". Furthermore, he showed his complete lack of class with his whining comentary.

Turner -- Accept some resposibility:
1- It wasn't "the last play"
2- There were TWO more opportunities to win after that, but your team was unable to stop the SAME EXACT 3 yard pass play to the same reciever TWICE in a row.
3- I couldn't begin to count the mistakes Turner has made is his all too long and miserable "career", from bad draft & trade choices, to poor game & clock management, to

poor play selection - as I said, far too numerous to begin to list here.


There are missed calls in every game. Hochuli missed the call, but he acknowledged his error, and correctly applied the rules from that point. IT WAS NOT THE DECIDING

PLAY - THE TWO COMPLETED PASSES THAT FOLLOWED DECIDED THE GAME.

It was a bad break - but champions suck it up and stop the pass - whiners (and losers) just whine (and lose!)

Turner should be HEAVILY fined for his totally unprofessional remarks.

The SD owner should wake up and fire both Turner & the GM who hired him. SD WILL NEVER WIN THE SUPER BOWL WITH THOSE TWO AROUND.

PS-TO ALL THOSE ENLIGHTENED READERS WHO SUGGESTED SUSPENSIONS/DEMOTIONS for HOCHULI:
I'd love to read your job performance evalualtions - they must all be superb...

Posted by: Tired of Norv | September 15, 2008 1:47 PM

maybe the charger fans can hire Hochuli as their attorney and he can sue the NFL for negligently hiring him...i know, this statement is just as crazy as the charger fans saying the outcome should be changed.

Hey Charger fans...you LOST!!

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 1:50 PM

Tired of Norv:

With the ungodly amount of money involved with the NFL, and only 16 games that count, REFS SHOULD NEVER DECIDE THE OUTCOME OF A GAME.

Stick to the subject (Hochuli's obvious/ blatant MULTIPLE bad calls), get off the Norv rant, and think if your team was in the Chargers position.

My evaluation was great, thanks for asking... :-)

Posted by: Lyss | September 15, 2008 1:53 PM

ok Charger fans you are right...that one call meant everything...you LOST!

Broncos WIN! Broncos WIN! Broncos WIN!

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 1:56 PM

Awe....Tired of Norv,

Your whole diatribe about Norv does not change the fact that San Diegans, The Chargers, NFL fans and....yes Norv Turner....were completely screwed by the officiating of that game.

Two bad calls gave the game to Denver. Period.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | September 15, 2008 1:57 PM

Dear Ed:

thanks for the WIN! i hope the charger fans realize that the only person that was screwed was Marty and he was screwed by the Charger's GM. Everything bad that happens to the chargers they bring on themselves. but hey, at least the chargers have the top rated team in the NFL--ratings cant get you wins...but you can Ed...thanks!

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 2:07 PM

hey Ed:

did you have something to do with Eli not wanting to play in San Diego? I think you did and i applaud you for your mighty influence. I thank the football gods everyday that you allowed Eli to win the SuperBowl last year for the Giants-something Rivers will never do with a far more talented team.

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 2:10 PM

It was VERY clear early in the game that Denver was GOING to win. Come on equipment NOT working? I have been working sporting events for 15yrs and we test, and retest everything hours prior to game. Proving that Hochuli would not allow the Chargers to win by calling a fumble dead is an outright crime.Hochuli knew that the game hinged on THAT call and he knew he could not be over turned because HE BLEW THE WHISTLE.

Posted by: MAB1222 | September 15, 2008 2:13 PM

Ed:

since you are so powerful and have the ability to WIN games...can you please allow the Broncos to win the Super Bowl.

P.S. can you allow McFadden and Fargas to run all over the Chargers in there next meeting.

P.S.S. how did the meeting go with Favre?

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 2:21 PM

Bottom line: the Chargers did not lose this game.

Two mistakes in one game that results in 14 points = A flawed system.

Us couch potatos at home could have gottent those two calls correct. Someone get these zebras some Tivo.

Posted by: BK | September 15, 2008 2:23 PM

Fruit of the poison tree! The blown whistle was predicated on a demonstrably incorrect call and should be vitiated. Instead the we watched as officials, after acknowledging their mistake, handed the game to the losers.Rules must be the servants of just outcomes, not an end in themselves. But in this perverse instance the winners lost and the losers won. Insane.

Posted by: boojum33 | September 15, 2008 2:25 PM

All of this hatred, ill-will, demands for firing, and death wishes upon a man who admittedly made a mistake on a split-second, judgment call in front of millions of biased fans and viewers? The man had the class to walk up to Norv Turner, admit his mistake, and apologize. He is honest. He is accountable. He has class.

If they fire him, we should elect him President.

Posted by: Bobby | September 15, 2008 2:36 PM

Bottom Line: Broncos WON

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 2:40 PM

It's fishy, that's what it is, fishy. It smells like that Pittsburgh/Seattle Super Bowl.

Posted by: Umbagog | September 15, 2008 2:46 PM

Bobby,

Good call. He couldn't be any more inept than the president we have now.

Yes, props to Ed for saying he's wrong ( Although I'll doubt we'll get a "sorry"). But he changed the outcome of a game, and there should be some repercussions.

Tell you what. I'll forgive Ed when Big baby shuts up.

Yeah, didn't think that was going to happen

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:47 PM


you wouldn't forgive Ed if your life depended on it...you and the rest of the charger fans would blame all of life's problems on Ed if possible.

but hey, thanks for the shout out.

P.S. Broncos are 2-0 and lead the West.

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 2:53 PM

To LYSS & ApostasyUSA,

1 - Once again, the calls did not give the game to Denver.

The two completed passes (& Shanahan's gutsy decision to go for 2) did.

The ref's mistake did give Denver a better chance, even an "undeserved" one, but again, champion teams overcome adversity. Yet, this error did not directly result in points awarded. Indeed, the best Hocholi could do (under the existing rules) improved SD's chance to survive, by putting the ball on the 10. SD still had the opportunity to win the game, and if they had, this wouldn't be a major discussion today. But SD couldn't execute when it counted most.

Unlike the coach selection process, Hochuli (& all refs) will continue to be evaulated for their performance. The best should always rise to the top, and I assume they will. Hochuli should not get assignments simply because of an excellent reputation - if his current performance is not among the best, he should be handled appropriately within the system. He should not be penalized outside the bounds of the system, despite the media attention and the whining of Turner.

I'm sure Turner has also benefitted over the course of his overly long career from officials mistakes, yet his record remains that of a loser. Of that, there can be no dispute. There will always be errors by the officials. SD should find a coach who can handle it.


2 - With the ungodly amount of money involved with the NFL, and only 16 games that count, REFS SHOULD NEVER DECIDE THE OUTCOME OF A GAME.

A lovely platitude - how about a constructive suggestion to correct the solution?

The NFL referee salary (National Football League) ranges from $25,000 to $70,000 per season i.e. a season with 16 games with one-week intervals. The NFL official’s average annual income of $27,000 is lowest when compared to the NBA officials earn about $128,000 per annum, the NHL officials earn $139,000 per annum and the major-league baseball officials earn about USD 141, 000 per annum (per job-employment-guide.com)

It would appear that these guys don't do it for the money - indeed, its a part time gig - they all have full time "real jobs". Perhaps you two, with your obvious infallibility, should apply...

More pay may or may not be the answer - for example, the Chargers pay Turner over $3 million per year... So, if there's a place for outrage over undeserved financial reward, perhaps this is a better place to look...

If you have a way to eliminate the officials mistakes, I'm sure all sports administrators would like to know what it is.

3 - Stick to the subject (Hochuli's obvious/ blatant MULTIPLE bad calls)
From what I understand, Hochuli does NOT have a record of "obvious/ blatant MULTIPLE bad calls". He certainly did make one yesterday. He admitted as much. He may have been screened. If there was no reasonable explanation (such as beeing screened), he should be disciplined however specified in the system. There shouldn't be any extraordinary action beyond that. My sense is that he is still an excellent referee, and on balance, games under his control are better offciated. If the data doesn't bear that out, so be it.

As far as sticking to the subject - I am. The description of this play includes Turners poor comments - verbatim - and again, he is wrong to suggest the game was DECIDED on the play. I grant that his team was disadvantaged, but it wasn't DECIDED. He should take RESPONSIBILITY for his mistakes, as Hochuli did. But Turner has NEVER done that.

By the way, I'm glad your evaluation was great - either you have a job which doesn't require any reasonable appliction of logic and judgement or your superiors are of the same ilk that that hired Coach Turner again...

Posted by: Tired of Norv | September 15, 2008 3:08 PM

Some very good posts and thoughts on this game... except for this "Big Baby" moron of course.
Yes, Ed made a mistake and admitted it. I sent an email to Ed and he basically said his call decided the outcome of the game. Here it is...

"You can rest assured that nothing you 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".

Probably a form letter that was sent to everyone who emailed him, but this guy has some class (unlike "Big Baby" the Bronco fan). Yes, the Bronco's won a hollow victory but we will see how chirpy the Donkey crybabies are on December 28th.

Posted by: Bob | September 15, 2008 3:10 PM

It is a game played by and officiated by humans. Ed had the guts to admit his error. The imperfect games will continue!

Posted by: DenisR | September 15, 2008 3:16 PM

OK. Although I agree it was a blow call let's review the last 3 drives of the game: Bronco's drives the length of the field in 8 minutes and then throws an interception. Bad pass not a great defensive play. San Diego gets the ball back with a chance to grind it out and win. They don't and punt. Bronco's drive the length of the field AGAIN and then Cutler fumbles. Not because of a great San Diego play. Just a noodnik mistake. They get the call and go on to score AND convert the 2 points. In the 4th Quarter the Chargers simply failed to stop the Broncos. They hand 15 minutes to play good defense and could not. Now they want to blame one blown call (and then somehow blame Hoculi for the malfunctioning equipment?) The first call the refs let the play continue, ruled it a fumble and did not blow the whistle as everyone said they should have on the last call. But the machine was broke. Maybe Ed had that in the back of his mind when he was watching that last play from BEHIND Cutler. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by: Robert Paulsen | September 15, 2008 3:18 PM

Can't believe there are still Seahawk fans whining about losing to the Steelers! Cracks me up! Too bad for you that there was no more room in the trophy cabinet where we used to keep the cry baby tissues! Nope! Fifth Lombardi took up allllll the room.
Anywho, Hoculi blew that last call and blew it bad. There was NO REASON to blow that whistle! He HAD TO SEE that ball came out of Cutler's hand funny, why not just let the play play out (I.E. when the Charger recovered the FUMBLE and rolled out of bounds). No, if he would have done so he would have lost a chance to show his BIG GUNS on the TOOB, BABY!! Serioulsy messed up that call. Was a shame.

Posted by: Hercules Hoculis | September 15, 2008 3:38 PM

Did any of you watch the same game I did???? Chargers came back... hmmmm, I don't remember the Broncos scoring in the second half at all.

Awesome game. Too bad the controversy tainted it.

Posted by: Dandy | September 15, 2008 4:07 PM

NFL officiating has gotten to be much like our Court system. A man who has blood all over him, runs from the cops, is unaccounted for during the time of his ex-wife's murder, who everybody in the world knows he is guilty of double homicide (except for OJ fans). Is set free.

When you know you made the wrong call, and that there was no posibility of anyone else getting the ball (in the one second after the whistle is blown) except the other team and everyone watching knows this. Yes, let's go by "rules" instead of what we all know is right.

Instead of looking up at the huge screen or having a ref look at the video up above so that we get the right call, no, lets go by the rules and say "well, we tried but it's not working". So everyone (except Broncos fans)knows the reality, but rules are rules and it is more important to follow rules than it is to do the right thing.

The rules are there for "controversy reasons". If something was so close it could have gone either way - follow the rules. When something becomes so obvious that 12 year olds could make the call, then it is time to say, we know what the rules are but this is to obvious for us to overlook.

Posted by: James Glenn | September 15, 2008 4:17 PM

um 39-38...i think the Broncos scored and that is why the chargers lost

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 4:18 PM

if it doesnt fit...you must acquit

Go Broncos

R.I.P. Johnie

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 4:20 PM

Dear Tired of Norv,

Your first sentence is this:

"1 - Once again, the calls did not give the game to Denver."

So, you think that if Hochuli had not blown that call and SD would have recovered the fumble (as they did) that they would have lost the game anyway? The rest of your post doesn't suggest that you're that stupid.

That blown call cost SD the game. Period. If Hochuli swallows his whistle, SD wins. Period. Don't try to white wash it with a bunch of subterfuge or be indignant that Norv Turner expects more out of the officiating crew.

Posted by: Tired of Morons | September 15, 2008 4:42 PM

If I were a Broncos Fan, My wife is and so is my boss. I would be thankful for the win, but know deep down inside that it should not have been. Being a chargers fan, I felt that way after the win over the colts in which Adam Viniateri missed a 30 yard game winning field goal. I didn't jump for joy, I was stunned - glad that we got the win but ashamed that we won on pure luck. I may have felt the same way after this game. Jay Cutler is an incredible up and coming quarterback and to win the game because he lost the ball like that - not because of us but because the opposing teams awesome quarterback choked when it counted most would have made me feel the same way as that colts game.

So thank you Ed for not making me feel that way again, I would have liked the win but it would have been an empty victory, much the same way the broncos should feel.

Posted by: james glenn | September 15, 2008 4:51 PM

you should know deep down inside that your boss is watching you and monitoring your internet use and he doesn't like you calling the Broncos win an "empty victory"

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 5:11 PM

I'm no Charger's fan and I still feel robbed! Hochuli is an idiot. Regardless of the replay, it was obvious with the naked eye that the ball went BACKWARDS. I don't think anyone would disagree with the fact that the ball went backwards. So even if it was a "pass", it would have been a lateral pass and therefore a live ball. So it's either a lateral pass (not incomplete since that would have to go forward) or a fumble. Either way Hochuli needs to keep the whistle tucked neatly in his a$$. The Charger's, their fans and most NFL fans (except for the Bronco's fans) were screwed over.

Posted by: Dabears 54 | September 15, 2008 5:24 PM

Too all of those who are blasting Hochuli, when was the last time you officiated anything? Refereeing is the only avocation where you are expected to start perfect and get better. Did he make a mistake? Yes, he also admitted it. By the rules, all he could do was award the ball to Denver. I'm sure he feels worse about this call than anyone else does.

As far as fining him or suspending him, he will probably not work any playoff games this year. This alone is a monetary hit of $15,000-$20,000.

How many of us are perfect at our jobs? Hochuli has been and still is one of the top Referee's in the NFL.

There is no way to take the human aspect out of refereeing. The instant replay helps, but it can't take it all away.

As far as Turner goes, when he coaches a perfect game, he can complain about the officiating.

Posted by: Chad | September 15, 2008 5:46 PM

I don't understand the point so many are making that The Chargers deserved the loss because they allowed so many points and/or the defense didn't do thier job.

In the last minute of the game, The Chargers pulled ahead of Denver 38-31. Then the defense recovered a fumble by Jay Cutler - sounds like they were doing their job to me.

If not for the egregious errors on behalf of Ed Hochuli and the rest of the officials, The Chargers would have won the game despite allowing 31 points to be scored by the opposition.

Posted by: Donny | September 15, 2008 5:55 PM

lets go over this one last time today...the chargers failed to stop the Broncos touchdown pass and subsequent two point conversion (the same play as the touchdown)

Broncos 2-0, lead the West

Chargers 0-2 below the Raiders

Posted by: get a real quarterback not a big baby | September 15, 2008 6:21 PM

It's just another incarnation of the curse of Norv.

Posted by: poorNorv | September 15, 2008 6:39 PM

Umm, let's forget about the blown call for a minute. How about the obvious hold on the two-point conversion attempt AFTER the touchdown? Any referee worth his salt would have flagged Denver there, forcing them to take the point-after instead. Then the game could have at least have been sent to overtime instead of being stolen outright from the Chargers.

It's not the blown call I object to -- it's the way the refs just put their whistles into their back pockets afterwards, instead of re-leveling the playing field as a GOOD ref would have done. The refs put the ball back into Denver's hands in a game-winning situation, and then stood idly by as Denver capitalized on their officiating mistakes to win a game they never should have won.

Yes, the Chargers shouldn't have put themselves in this position, but they were playing into the wind all day long as far as these refs were concerned. I personally tend to believe the theory that the refs were too scared of Psycho Pshanahan to do their jobs. I mean, I'd hate to see Shank Shanahan crawling into my bedroom window with a hunting knife clenched between his teeth.

As a football fan who personally invested three hours watching this game, I feel like I was cheated out of watching an honest contest. I hate the Chargers, but I sure do feel their pain...

Posted by: Steve | September 15, 2008 7:39 PM

Enough with all the "he's human, he made a mistake" bs. The ball landed 5 yards behind the QB. How could that EVER have been an incomplete pass? Any 10 year old child could have called that correctly. There is simply no explanation for it. It was more than a "blown call." It was a completely made up fantasy call.

Posted by: Christina | September 15, 2008 7:43 PM

Refs make fewer mistakes than coaches or players. The NFL should have a rule similar to college that would allow for an immediate recovery after an inadvertent whistle.

Posted by: DW | September 15, 2008 10:00 PM

I'm so sick of the "everyone makes mistakes" and "put yourself in his shoes" BS. OF COURSE everyone makes mistakes. The problem is his not reversing his mistake. He stole the game away from one team and handed it to the home team, plain and simple. It was the worst call in a game of truly bad calls, and completely unfair. It almost turned me off of pro ball completely I was so disgusted.

Posted by: MonsterJester | September 16, 2008 12:06 AM

Not only did he screw up the fumble call, if he REALLY thought it was a pass then it was a lateral because it went BACKWARD AND HE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BLOWN A BACKWARDS PASS DEAD EITHER.

The truth is, Hochuli got caught up in the excitement of a hometeam moving towards a tying touchdown, and improperly rewarded the Broncos. His manufactured, after the fact explanation, that he thought it was a pass (that went backward??) shows him to be a lying member of the legal profession. That's right, Eddie is an attorney in Phoenix.

PS Lay off the roids Eddie

Posted by: T-Dog | September 16, 2008 1:01 AM

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.

Posted by: No Recourse | September 16, 2008 8:39 AM

To those of you dismissing Hochuli's call as merely "bad," I have this to say: that call was not "bad," it was a DISASTER! Of course refs, being people, make mistakes. But this one went beyond the normal bounds of subjective error. Think about it: an NFL game result was altered in a very obvious and egregious way. The call could not have been more plain - nobody was near Cutler and the ball went backwards. How could that have been a pass? A great game was ruined - by one of the “best” refs in the NFL! This is an embarrassment for the league.
Some die-hard Broncos fans will try to rationalize this, focus on Shanahan’s “gutsy” call (which was really an attempt to gain some honour from a dishonourable situation) in order to get the bad taste of a tainted win out of their mouths, and move on. But it would be better if ALL fans demanded better performance and higher standards from NFL officials as much they demand it from the players. The NFL portrays itself to be the top professional sport in the WORLD. The replay equipment should work all the time and the refs should always make the easy calls.

Posted by: Jim C. | September 16, 2008 10:12 AM

finally someone else getting the tuck...

Posted by: ref conspiracy | September 16, 2008 2:25 PM

"Some die-hard Broncos fans will try to rationalize this, focus on Shanahan’s “gutsy” call"

That was NOT a gutsy call!!! Shanahan knew that the officials were all aware that if the Chargers win the game, everyone forgets about the botched call. So, in overtime...look for one or two "makeup" calls by the officials.

I am sure Hochuli was the the unhappiest person in the stadium (and continental US)to see them go for the two points!

Posted by: Tom | September 16, 2008 2:50 PM

I am a high school football official trying to work my way up the ladder and I've gotten to know a couple of NFL officials. None of you have any idea the training and scrutiny the NFL puts these guys through. They are evaluated twice a week during the season and graded on EVERY play. They must maintain a ridiculously high percentage of correct calls over the course of the season or they are not invited back the following season. It takes quite a bit of experience and success to even be considered for the NFL. These are the best, most highly trained football officials in existence.

Are they perfect? No. Try officiating a game where players average 6'2, 240 lbs and run 4.5 - the speed of the game makes officiating very difficult.

When all coaches coach a perfect game and all players play a perfect game, then all of you have reason to moan and complain about the officiating.

Posted by: Nelson | September 17, 2008 10:38 AM

Ed Hochuli should challenge Norv Turner to an arm wrestling match on live TV to defend his honor...

It was a mistake, who cares aside from some lame SD fans! They happen all the time, atleast he didn't pretend it didn't happen or bend the rules. Ed is a good guy and shouldn't be taking all this flak for following the rules.

Posted by: OZZIE | September 19, 2008 12:46 PM

I don't see wat the controversy is. Hoculi made a call, quickly realized it was a mistake and owned up to it. And he's handling it better and honestly than 99% of the general population. I wish our politicians were this honest. Especially the one sitting in the Oval Office.

Posted by: David Villegas | September 20, 2008 1:04 PM

The game: San Diego at Indianapolis, November 2007. The situation: Chargers lead 16-0 and are driving into the end zone. The Chargers' pass bounces off a few legs and is intercepted by the Colts. Before he can come out of the end zone, the official away from the play blows it dead. Instead of getting the ball in decent field position, the Colts start with the ball on their own 20. According to this year's Chargers fans, that was the wrong call, the side official should be fired, and the game should be awarded to the Colts. As a result of that change, Jacksonville plays San Diego in the Playoffs (Jax Wins) and Pittsburgh plays Tennessee (Pitt Wins). Still like the idea, Chargers Fans?

Posted by: oneblankspace | September 22, 2008 4:53 PM

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