There’s more fallout from the mess that was the final minutes of the Broncos vs. Chargers game on Sunday. Apologizing to Chargers coach Norv Turner for blowing the call on Jay Cutler’s apparent fumble apparently doesn’t make up for you know, blowing the call so horribly: the AP reports that the NFL is going to “downgrade” Ed Hochuli.
What does that mean? Well, his winds have now reached tropical storm status, meaning that their sustained speeds are no more than…wait, I’m thinking of hurricanes being downgraded. (Although you must admit, Hurricane Hochuli sounds like one storm not to be messed with.)
In NFL terms, being graded down means that it’s a lot less likely that he’ll be working any post-season games this year. Which Hochuli might not mind - all the more time to work on getting his pythons to the point that no modern referee shirt material can contain them.
Although - surprise - Mike Shanahan praised Hochuli’s work, calling him “the best crew that we have had in the last 20 crews I have graded,” not everyone in the NFL was so glowing. And even people whose name doesn’t rhyme with Blorv Gurner. Like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones:
“That particular official gets a lot of criticism. He’s a highly criticized official in the NFL,” Jones said.
Ouch. And if anyone should know from high levels of criticism, it’s Jerry Jones.
But the fallout might be more than just hurt feelings and missed playoff assignments. The NFL might consider changing the “inadvertent whistle” rule that forced Hochuli to have to give the ball back to the Broncos even after admitting his error. Perhaps telling their refs not to blow the whistle if it’s a close call that might be replayed could be a good place to start.