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NFL Week 17: Referee Assignments

We’ve got Pete Morelli in Cleveland, Bill Leavy in Miami, and Ed Hochuli in Seattle. What else can you find? Please try and post the link to where you found out or that you know someone on the crew that you got the info from so we can be accurate this week.

Happy New Year! Have a Safe, Fun, and Healthy Holiday!

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NFL Week 16: Referee Assignments

So far we’ve got Tony Corrente for the Santa Claus Special Friday Night, Ed Hochuli in Cincinnatti, Pete Morelli in Pittsburgh.

Please post anything you find in the comments below.

I’m also trying to find some footage of the Jacobs/Haynesworth fight from last night for a post later today, but I’m not having any luck yet. If anyone finds a link, please email it to me at mlevbb23@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Is 5 yards that big of a deal?

I’ve noticed several comments about this call already, so I wanted to give some details to it.

With third and 9 from the Steelers 34, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco fumbled the ball at the 42. The ball was recovered by the Ravens at the 37 with 18 seconds left. With no timeouts remaining, the Ravens went into fire-drill mode to try and get a last second field goal attempt off. In all of this confusion, however, Ed Hochuli and his crew mistakenly spotted the ball at the 37.

Ed Hochuli

NFL Rulebook 8–7–6: If a fumble by either team occurs after the two-minute warning:

(a) The ball may be advanced by any opponent.

(b) The player who fumbled is the only player of his team who is permitted to recover and advance the ball.

(c) If the recovery or catch is by a teammate of the player who fumbled, the ball is dead, and the spot of the next snap is the spot of the fumble, or the spot of the recovery if the spot of the recovery is behind the spot of the fumble.

There were alot of things that the officials had to do at this time: spot the ball, make sure there were only 11 players on the field, watch for the field goal try, make sure there wasn’t a false start, and be aware of a possible timeout called before the kick.

Regardless of this, is there any good reason for Hochuli‘s crew to err in the spotting of the ball and turn what should have been 59 yard try into a 54 yard try? Should the replay official have buzzed in to correct the call? thereby forcing an officials timeout and giving the Ravens time to set up?

I don’t believe there’s a good reason here for this to have happened and the ball should have been correctly spotted, that’s the rule. Do you think they should have stopped the action and got the spot right?

NFL refs not allowed to use any social media

Well this seems short-sighted.  The NFL has decreed that all referees are not allowed to use any social media.

NBC Sports:The league also has blocked referee Ed Hochuli from tweeting apologies for his next blown call; the policy prohibits NFL game officials and the officiating department from using social media at any time.

My question: What exactly is social media? Sure, that includes Twitter and Facebook.  What about text messaging?  Only to other people?  Not at all?  Can they create an account on YouTube account to post comments?  Digg?  Google Reader has more and more social features, so does that count?  The grayness of this gets confusing quickly and will only get worse.

I can see what the NFL is trying to do, but they seem to be taking the wrong angle.  Why not simply prohibit them from posting anything job-related?  That seems fair and easy.

Other items from this new policy block players from posting anything social from 90 minutes pre-game to after the post-game press conferences, and no internet sites may post anything that resembles play-by-play.  Good luck with that.

Hochuli involved in another controversial call: helmet-to-helmet in ATL-CAR

If not for the mess in week one, this probably wouldn’t even be a story.  Unfortunately, it is.

Early in the first quarter of the Falcons-Panthers game today, referee Ed Hochuli flagged Julius Peppers for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan.  The play had resulted in an interception and a touchdown for the Panthers, but it was called back due to the penalty.  Should it have been called?

I watched the game live, and thought it was the right call.  It certainly appeared to be helmet-to-helmet, although it wasn’t very hard and it didn’t seem to be intentional.  I really think this was a call that could go either way.  Sadly for Hochuli, the call had a very direct impact on the game, taking seven points away from the Panthers.  Like his call a few weeks ago, he threw the flag before the “big play” happened, so he had no way of knowing how important the call would be.

If I can find a video or screencap of the hit, I’ll post it here.  Please let me know if you find one.

Hochuli unsure about working this Sunday?

It seems that Ed Hochuli may be considering taking a week off, based on a small change on his “official” website.

As of yesterday, the site proudly proclaimed that Ed would be working the Browns-Ravens game this Sunday.  Today, that message changed to:

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21st – Check back Sunday Morning

I’ll admit — this might not mean anything.  Still, I find it quite odd that they’d take down the game listing at this point in time.

Mike Pereira, the NFL’s supervisor of officials, has already come out and encouraged Ed to get back out there.  Between that, Ed’s apology, no suspension from the league, and the listing on his site, I assumed he was good go to.  Maybe not.

Anyone have any good information about this?  If so, please leave it in the comments below.

Hochuli is devasted, but Pereira wants him back on the field this weekend

The NFL’s supervisor of officials, Mike Pereira, says that he has spoken to Ed Hochuli a few times over the past week and that Hochuli still feels devastated about what happened.  According to Pereira:

“He is a consummate professional who’s refereed in this league for 17 years and he hates to make any mistake. So when you add a mistake of this magnitude, at this particular junction of the game, it’s been really hard on him. We’ve talked probably seven or eight times since that game, and my whole goal is to try to get him back to get on the horse and work again this weekend. He’s too good of a guy, too good of an official to keep off the field over this critical mistake he made. I think he’ll be all right, but he’s really been affected over this mistake he made.”

If Pereira is right and Hochuli gets right back into it, he’s scheduled to ref the Browns-Ravens game at 4:15EST.

Hochuli issues an apology for Chargers-Broncos blown call

Referee Ed Hochuli has issued a brief statement apologizing for the blown call in last week’s Chargers-Broncos game.  His statement:

“I’m getting hundreds of e-mails — hate mail — but I’m responding to it all.  People deserve a response. You can rest assured that nothing anyone can 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.”

At this point, I’m not sure what else can be done.  He’s apologized and the league will look into the “inadvertent whistle” rule, so hopefully this story can start to go to rest.

You can bet his next game will be scrutinized closely, though.

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)?

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.