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Hochuli punished a little bit. Was it enough?

The NFL has decided to give Ed Hochuli some “marked down” grades for his bad call in the Broncos-Chargers game, which may mean he can’t work in the playoffs this year.  GIven all of your harsh comments, I’m guessing most of you think it’s too light.

The official statement, from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:

 “Officials are held accountable for their calls. They are graded on every play of every game.  Ed has been an outstanding official for many years, but he will be marked down for this call. Under our evaluation system, an official’s grades impact his status for potentially working the playoffs and ultimately whether or not he is retained.”

At the same time, the referees association has made it clear that they are standing behind Ed.  They admit that he obviously screwed up, but they point to his 19 years of experience (with very little criscism).  Tim Miller, the executive director of the NFLRA, had this to say:

“No one feels worse about this than Ed, but like the coaches and players in our high-speed game, mistakes will occur.”

“The NFLRA stands by Ed Hochuli as a 19-year veteran with multiple Super Bowl and countless playoff game experience who has the integrity and character to admit a mistake and accept the criticism that comes with it.”

So what do you think?  Should Hochuli have been punished more, for what was really just one quick mistake?  Or does the fault lie with the NFL, whose rules didn’t allow Hochuli the ability to fix it (by awarding the ball to San Diego)?

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The overturned fumble in the Wisconsin-Fresno State game

All of the attention is (rightfully) on the Denver-San Diego mess, but there was another very controversial call this weekend.  In the Wisconsin-Fresno State game, a Fresno State fumble was overturned after a replay review.  What makes this unique is that the replay review was apparently badly blown.

According to Colin Cowherd on his radio show this morning, this was an absolutely insane call.  He has no doubt that the replay official should be fired, and they should all be very embarassed.  I guess the difference is that this call didn’t quite cost Wisconsin the game, while the Hochuli call very definately cost the Chargers their game.

I didn’t see the play, so I can’t comment for sure.  If you saw it, what did you think?  Was it an obviously blown call, or did they get it right with the review?

Also, did anyone catch the name of that official?  I can’t find it anywhere.

Here is the play for those that missed it:

The disappearing fumble in the Denver-San Diego game

I was going to write a more complete recap of this situation later, but we’re already seeing some comments about it.

The quick version, via ESPN:

Trailing 38-31, the Broncos (2-0) reached the 1 but on third-and-goal, Cutler reared back to throw and the ball slipped out of his hands, bounced off the grass and into linebacker Tim Dobbins’ hands. 

But referee Ed Hochuli blew his whistle, apparently ruling it an incomplete pass. After a review, Hochuli said that the Broncos would keep the ball because his whistle had blown the play dead. The Broncos got the ball at the 10-yard line, where it had hit the grass out of Cutler’s hands.

I’m kind of torn on this.  Hochuli obviously blew the call, but did all he could to make it right.  Once he had blown the whistle, there was nothing he could do.  Of course, he never should have blown the whistle.

The difference last week in the Washington-BYU game was that the refs had time to discuss it, and still blew the call. Of course, that game would have only tied it, whereas this call certainly lost the game for the Chargers.

Did Washington get hosed by the refs?

One of the most talked-about plays this weekend was the final play of the Washington-BYU game. If you somehow didn’t hear about it went like this:

  • BYU was leading 28-21, with a few seconds left in the 4th quarter
  • Washington QB Jake Locker scores with 2 seconds left to make the score 28-27
  • After he scored, he threw the ball in the air behind him and then hugged his teammates in celebration
  • An unsportsmanlike penalty was called by Larry Farina for excessive celebration, resulting in a 15 yard penalty
  • The resulting extra point (now about 34 yards instead of 19) was blocked, winning the game for BYU.
Here’s a clip of the end of the game:

So the big question: was it the right call?

On one hand, it was completely fair — the rules clearly state that it should be called as a penalty. However, the rules also clearly state that the ball should be “returned to the official or left near the dead ball spot”. How often does that happen? 50% of the time, maybe? I guess I missed all of those other penalties when players toss the ball on the ground.

The PAC-10 has come out and said it was a good call. What do you think?