Cut Hochuli Some Slack

Ed Hochuli, a longtime referee in the NFL, has been "downgraded" for making a bad call involving a fumble in the epic Chargers-Broncos game last week. Basically, Jay Cutler fumbled, but kind of looked like he was in the process of a tuck (the infamous Tom Brady fumble that got the 2001 Patriots to the Superbowl), and so Hochuli called it an incomplete pass and whistled the play dead. As a result, the Chargers, who picked up the fumble, did not get possession, and the coaches couldn't review the play because it was called dead on the field.

Poor Hochuli has admitted his mistake and apologized profusely for the call, which was amplified becuase it played a big part in the resolution of a very close game in the fourth quarter. And he was given a "bad grade" for it (it might keep him out of the playoffs). But fans and the NFL establishment are taking this too far -- I've heard some of the sports talk shows speculate that the NFL could suspend Hochuli or even fire him.

This is overreaction. Every game I've ever seen involves an awful call like this. Some can be reviewed and corrected, but some can't because of the NFL's dead ball rule. If they just changed the rule, and said that, in loose ball situations, the play isn't dead until some team recovers possession, even if it is whistled dead, then at least they could do a booth review and award possession accordingly. I mean, how difficult would that be to implement? So make the change, NFL, and get off Hochuli's back.

P.S. - Implement review for pass interference and face mask calls, too, while you're at it.