Ed Hochuli’s crew gets a big call right

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When Ed Hochuli refereed a Chargers-Broncos game in 2008, disaster struck: Hochuli wrongly ruled that Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler had thrown an incomplete pass when Cutler had actually fumbled, and the botched call handed the Broncos the game. When Hochuli refereed in San Diego tonight for the first time since then, he was booed by Chargers fans.

But on a tough call in the first quarter of tonight’s Raiders-Chargers game, Hochuli got a tough call exactly right, to the Chargers’ benefit.

It happened when the Raiders ran a fake punt, with Shane Lechler taking the snap and throwing a deep ball to Jacoby Ford. Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer hit Ford just before the ball arrived, and the Raiders were incredulous, demanding a pass interference flag.

But no flag came, and after a brief consultation Hochuli turned on his microphone and explained a little-known rule: When the offense lines up in a punt formation, there’s no such thing as pass interference on the end man on the line of scrimmage.

The pass interference section of the NFL’s online digest of rules makes it clear: “Whenever a team presents an apparent punting formation, defensive pass interference is not to be called for action on the end man on the line of scrimmage.”

So the call was the right one, and it was also smart of Hochuli to turn on the microphone and explain the rule. When a rule comes up that the fans are unlikely to know, it’s helpful for the ref to explain it.

Ford was later carted off the field with an apparent ankle injury. Chargers tackle Marcus McNeill has also left the game, with a stinger. Late in the first quarter the Raiders lead 7-3.

UPDATE: Hochuli later got a call right on a Carson Palmer fumble that was reminiscent of the Cutler play.

53 responses to “Ed Hochuli’s crew gets a big call right

  1. Does the same apply for FG formations too? Really interesting rule that makes sense.

    /Raiders fan satisfied with explanation, bitter about the play call.

  2. Makes perfect sense. No way the gunner could possibly even know if the ball was in the air. Good call, Ed.

    (full disclosure…I am a Bronco fan. While Bolts fans were sending Hochuli death threats, I was making cupcakes to send to him).

  3. bigbeefyd says:
    Nov 10, 2011 9:31 PM
    Makes perfect sense. No way the gunner could possibly even know if the ball was in the air. Good call, Ed

    _______________________

    That’s a great point. Not only was the call right, but the rule is a good one. The return team players opposite the gunners have a responsibility to physically prevent him from getting downfield. Their backs would be turned to the punter and they’d have no idea that the punt was a fake.

    If the rule was not in place, it would be conceivable for a punter to chuck the ball towards a gunner, if he was being roughed up, for an instant PI.

    That said, I had no idea this was a rule.

  4. i’m glad they got something right. they handed the vikings a W 2 weeks ago on a pathetic offensive PI called on steve smith when he blocked a dude across the field while cam was in the end zone. if they are 50% correct 50% of the time then i wish they’d get fined for sh!tty officiating.

  5. At first I was yelling at the TV. Good job by Ed and his team to not only make the right call, but for Ed to make sure he took time to explain the rule to the rest of us. I have to agree with the others who think this is a good rule. It does make sense.

    I liked the fake punt attempt, but would have preferred a higher percentage pass play. Even better, just line up and run Bush.

  6. jbaxt says:
    Nov 10, 2011 10:21 PM
    @war27

    “the rules you learn while watching Raider games are amazing.”

    Now if the faiders could just learn the rules
    ==============
    They learning to smash some Chargers ….

  7. Ed Hochuli and his crew just overturned an obvious touchdown pass based on some complete BS and on the very next play, failed to call Wimbley for a blatant helmet to helmet hit on Rivers. Ed Hochuli and his crew are HACKS!

  8. Ed Hochuli and his crew just overturned an obvious touchdown pass based on some complete BS and on the very next play, failed to call Wimbley for a blatant helmet to helmet hit on Rivers.

  9. what about the next line in the rules: Defensive holding, such as tackling a receiver, still can be called and result in a 5-yard penalty and automatic first down from the previous spot, if accepted.

  10. now that every player sees that play … There should not be another fake punt pass caught again … Dumb rule

  11. grandpoopah
    Not sure what you were looking at, but the ball came loose and the defender who was out of bounds touched the ball, therefore the ball was out of bounds. The announcers were very poor on that play, it was obvious the ball came loose. Sorry, but you are wrong with this one.

    OH and I am no Faider fan, so don’t even go there.

  12. keeponhating says:
    Nov 11, 2011 12:00 AM
    Its funny how all the “little known” rules come to light when the Raiders are playing.

    ============

    Especially when they are dominating the Chargers – 6 sacks, well over 160 yards rushing…it shouldve been much worse – Hochuli tried to get in on the action, but the Raiders manhandled them and Chargers were leaving the game left and right.

    as Jamie Dukes said..They’re soft. Whenever people go to the “horrible officiating take” its when a team is puting a physical beatdown on someone .

  13. i dont understand how you are not allowed to call PI on a punt but later in the game you can call “defensive holding before the ball was punted” and give an automatic first down. In my eyes defensive holding is called when a receiver is running a route for a pass. doesnt make sense.

  14. WOW the IQ on these boards continues to impress me. For those of you that can’t understand why the rule is in place, maybe you should quit watching football.

    Its pretty simple that the defender can block the offense wideout down the field so the punt returner can have a chance to return the kick. it is impossible for the defender to know if the punter tosses up a pass while the defender is blocking. There would be pass interference on every play as fake punts would be the norm if interference could be called.

    Dumb rule??? More like dumb fans

  15. gsr1191 says: Nov 11, 2011 7:42 AM

    i dont understand how you are not allowed to call PI on a punt but later in the game you can call “defensive holding before the ball was punted” and give an automatic first down. In my eyes defensive holding is called when a receiver is running a route for a pass. doesnt make sense.
    ——————————————-

    so the defense should be able to grab ahold of the wideout and hold onto him preventing him from going downfield to tackle punt returner. Thanks for making my point about ignorant fans.

  16. What you guys don’t understand because you’ve never played football or are a raiders fan is when a team punts a lot of times your are blocking a person all the way down the field and not looking at the play. There for you could fake punt it everytime and nearly every time will get a pass interference call unless there is a rule like this.

  17. edmazeing1 says:
    Nov 10, 2011 9:13 PM
    Dumb rule, P.I is P.I no matter what!!!
    =========================

    No, dumb post.

    If you could call pass interference on the man on the end of the line, all the punter would have to do is take the snap, wait for some to engage the man on the end of the line, and then throw the ball at him.

    It would have to be called PI every time.

  18. I was thinking you were referring to the Chargers’ TD pass that was later reviewed and waived off due the fact the football was in contact with Raider DB Lito Shepperd while he was out of bounds while simultaneously in the receivers’ hand, making the football a dead ball. Well officiated game overall, I thought.

  19. Every time I hear Ed Hochuli’s name I think back to the game that John Madden gushed incredulously about the size of his pipes. “Ed Hochuli’s been working out!”

  20. you are correct MDS, it is in the nfl rule book, under section 16, part k, under. Rules to screw the raiders, and falls right under the tuck rule, followed by the louis murphy rule, followed by on any third and long play for any opposing team against the raiders call defensive holding, followed by that call.

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