Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Countdown to Hochuli

Was just recalling that in the Jets/Patriots playoff game Sunday, they had the fattest official I've ever seen out there. I don't know what position he was manning, but it seemed like every time I looked up, it was a profile of his huge belly.

And when you think of referee fitness, it's a played cliche but you think of Hochuli. What I was thinking was: my football hell might be Hochuli were working a gamesmanship-filled genius showdown between Belichick and Mangini.

I appreciate the heads-up manner of the Patriots... hurry-up, quick snap, keep them from substituting. To have both teams doing that stuff got pretty tedious, but holy cow, if they'd had Hochuli working that game.

Because as much praise as Hochuli gets, he's more interested in proving he knows more than anyone about the rules than applying the rule at hand. It lets him talk more.

A St Louis/Seattle game this year was a good example. I'm not saying he didn't get the call right when Seattle committed a penalty with 4 seconds to go. But Hochuli felt a segment of the stadium yelling "10-second runoff!" And, for once, it seemed like they might be right.

Hochuli opened up the mike and shouted "THIS IS NOT A 10-SECOND RUNOFF!" just to re-establish who was in charge. He even has a quote about it in the game story as a convincer. You think you know, but you don't know.

"The 10-second runoff people are familiar with is a false start, or when the players never get set before the ball is snapped. This is not a 10-second runoff situation."
Anyways, I can see him doing in Belichick if they converge. Belichick will think he's quick-snapped and drawn a 12 men on the field penalty and Hochuli might just whip out an archaic rule he's had up his sleeve.

It would be a great battle. I know Hochuli's worked their games before many times and Belichick had high praise, but the Pats are relying more on that sketchy stuff these days and Ed might finally bring the hammer down, especially with Belichick letting his appearance go a little more each week. Ed don't abide slobs. The fatass working the Jets/Pats game would never have been on Ed's crew.

Each ref team only works one playoff game, so Ed's is still coming. The suspect Triplette and Morelli teams are out of the way. Fingers crossed the Bears don't draw Hochuli. I don't want my game sullied with his know-it-all filibustering on the mike.

In closing, I pulled up a great letter about Ed from the fine 'Ask Jerry Markbreit' column.

"Are you, or other NFL referees, scared of Ed 'The Hulk' Hochuli?" - Nate from Phoenix

Jerry's response: This is the first time that I have heard Ed Hochuli referred to as "The Hulk." No, the other officials are not afraid of Ed. He is a very fine gentleman and a great official who has developed a national following because of his prowess on the field and his very impressive physique. He is a very good friend of mine and doesn't scare me in the least.

I'll skip the cheap illegal touching joke, but this kid looks a little scared. First down!

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