The man known for the guns quickly became known for that terrible call in San Diego early last season. Late in a week two game between the Chargers and Broncos, Hochuli ruled a fumble by Jay Cutler as an incomplete pass, even though he was only a few yards away from the play. Even after the replay booth determined it was a fumble, NFL rules prohibited Hochuli from overturning it because of some dead-ball rules. The next few weeks were not kind to Hochuli; the hate mail and the threats filled his inbox. Refereeing isn’t as sweet as a gig as it seems to be, on rare occasions anyway, otherwise, it’s a pretty sweet gig in my opinion. That was then and this is now, and the NFL has corrected the rule for the upcoming season as Hochuli points out below on XX Sports Radio in San Diego. Hochuli also discusses the hatred he received, when people started sending in more loving notes, and why he questions society.
On his life post call:
“I felt very bad about it obviously, nothing I could do about it at that point, you live with the hate mail, I respond to everybody… You pick up and move on; we’ve all made mistakes in life and I don’t care how traumatic they are, you’ve got no choice but to move on. And, that was the second game of the season, I had a full season to officiate from that point forward. I had a crew to take care of, I had games to work every week, so, I had to overcome that. Everybody, we’ve all had to overcome problems in our lives and hurdles in our lives, and I think it’s trite but it’s so true: the mark of a person is how they deal with adversity, not how they deal with success, it’s easy to deal with success. And, so my crew just rededicated ourselves and actually ended up having an outstanding season.”
On people changing their tune towards him:
“I received some emails the first couple of days; I had a quite number of them and I responded. Then it was publicized in the papers, publishing my email address – it was published in a San Diego paper and also the U.S.A. Today that I had been getting hate mail, and I had been responding to it. Believe it or not, over the course of the next week, I received about 25,000 emails and there weren’t 10 negative emails in there. It was very humbling the response nationwide that we all make mistakes, and people appreciated the fact that I apologized and admitted it which frankly was nice, but it kinda made me wonder about our society today when it’s a big deal when someone admits their mistake and apologizes for it. It was only the natural thing and the right thing to do, but I did receive quite a number of emails from San Diego fans who had written me earlier and said that perhaps I overreacted a little bit.”
On the change in the rulebook to combat a similar scenario from happening:
“The league has changed the rule to solve that problem. If that problem were to occur again this year or in the future, instant replay now permits us to reverse the play and give the ball to the team that recovered it at the spot of recovery. So, that would be the outcome from now on, and so the league has responded to the issue and dealt with it through instant replay.”