Duh! Is there any other way to say it?

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network

Ed Hochuli is supposed to be one of the better officials in the NFL, which also translates into working with one of the better "crews." Duh! That's yesterday's news. His performance, and one has to blame him directly for one admitted horrific call in the San Diego/Denver contest when a clear fumble was whistled dead as an incomplete forward pass and the Broncos then went on to score, go for two points and win the game. Admitting the blown call did not make things right. A rush to judgment in about the same time it takes for a teenager to consummate his first sexual experience.

Then the audience asked for an encore and, not to be denied, there it was this past Monday at the New Orleans/Minnesota game. Reggie Bush almost had his head taken off with a face mask grab that caused a resultant release of the ball, a declared fumble and possession to the Vikes bringing the Saints' drive to a screeching halt. Not Hochuli directly but his crew and no reversal since it is not allowed on a play like that. Duh! Why not? Millions of fans saw it, the announcers commented on it over and over, the fans at the stadium saw it, it was imprinted for football eternity and protestations on the sidelines were ignored.

Ed Hochuli has been an NFL Referee since 1990.

Hochuli and company had done it again. One cannot wait to see what travesty is foisted upon us this weekend. Maybe all that weightlifting he does has affected his sensibilities, deferred his experience to another lower level and impaired his eyesight. Does the whistle really have that much appeal? I won't go there.

Both performances were pathetic and, no, whatever else that might be deemed good in either game cannot overcome whistle-blowing, or lack of it, that determines the outcome of the game...a wrong result. It is an "L" in the records and will impact as the season moves along. What if it was a playoff game, conference title, Super Bowl? If you cannot review and reverse here, you cannot do it there.

Meanwhile, the omnipotent NFL moves along with the attitude of Forrest Gump that "S--t happens!" Really? To a small crowd in an uneventful and less than embarrassing situation that might be acceptable. On national television? Duh!

Christmas came early to Denver and Minnesota. Reggie Bush performed above the norm but that is not a criteria for winning. It is an element. To take that away from him and the Saints by asking how many NFL officials it takes to screw up again is absurd. By the way, the answer is seven on the field and one for replay. Are they each doing other things, watching for infractions that they love to call, penalties that are about 40 yards removed from the actual play? Yes. But, how the heck do you miss two calls like these? The three blind mice would have been on top of both of them faster. When you have a professional sport that dismisses errors as part of the game and thinks that some admonition to the official(s) responsible will make it all better, sort of like placing the commissioner's hand on a forehead and imploring the official to shout "Jesus!" to those in attendance. It works in a tent below the Mason-Dixon Line, not on the field of play in the NFL.

This attitude is not evident in the NFL alone. Remember, there is a reward out there for anyone that can identify the strike zone in major league baseball, another for a zebra that can actually define a foul in the NBA, other than one where someone is pushed from behind going in for an easy lay-up. And, the NHL, well, what can you say about that? Do people really go to the Indy 500 to watch the race or wait for a crash? Do the fights that break out on the ice make the fans glad that they came, do they enhance the experience, and do they make sense?

Ed Hochuli and his crew, whoever they are this weekend, no matter which game they may be working, are likely to turn the other cheek. But that does not mean what it purports to, as stated in the Bible. What they are likely to do is turn away from one obvious penalty to call another..too hastily, not soon enough? It is a toss-up and remains to be seen.

They blew the whistle, blew the call and blew the game for the teams affected, San Diego and New Orleans and all the king's horses and all the king's men will not be able to put either of them back together again.

No, by the way, it is not a matter of looking at the record and all the good games Hochuli has officiated. That is why he is paid. That is how his crew(s) supplements their incomes from their other jobs selling insurance or serving up burgers at McDonald's. Two in a few weeks. Two that were blatant. Two that the most sophomoric fan would have called better. Two that determined the outcome.

Does anyone within the sport, from officials to executive offices of the NFL, really care despite their feigned concern? Will these events stimulate thinking about some changes?

You gotta be kidding!

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