After the final game of the 2009 season, several members of the Tennessee Titans ripped a holding call on fullback Ahmard Hall that negated a 62-yard run by Chris Johnson and may have cost Johnson the single-season rushing record.
Now Hall says Ed Hochuli, the referee who threw the flag on the play, has apologized.
Hall told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean that Hochuli apologized both to him and to Johnson and admitted the holding call was “a mistake.”
“It is big of him,” Hall said. “Some guys won’t admit they’re wrong regardless if they’re dead wrong. So that is a big deal, with the record that could’ve been and him being a prestigious referee, to admit that he was wrong.”
Johnson finished the 2009 season with 2,006 rushing yards, exactly 100 short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s NFL record. Titans coach Jeff Fisher said that if Johnson hadn’t been deprived of those 62 yards on the run that Hochuli’s flag called back, the Titans would have given the ball to Johnson enough late in the game to get him the record.
Hall says he felt terrible about his penalty, but now feels better because Hochuli has told him it wasn’t really holding.
“I got over it, but I admit it hurt me for a while,” Hall said. “You are getting replayed on ESPN as the guy who had the phantom holding call. But for Ed to apologize personally, that definitely added closure to the situation.”
Hochuli hasn’t discussed the play publicly, but Hall says Hochuli told him that the NFL marked him down for the mistake.
“He told us that call made him miss out on a big playoff game,” Hall said. “He got a low, low grade for that call. He regretted it and talked to myself and C.J., and then talked to the team. He admitted it was a bad call. People make mistakes, and it was big for him to own up to it.”