Replacement referee Craig Ochoa has been taking some heat this morning after botching the announcement after a replay challenge during Thursday night’s game.
After explaining his replay ruling in the Ravens-Falcons game, Ochoa said, “Arizona will be not charged a timeout.”
The local announcer immediately seized on Ochoa’s mistake, saying, “And neither will Atlanta be charged a timeout — they’ll be happy to hear in Arizona that their first-half three timeouts are still intact.”
Ochoa’s mistake is an easy one to laugh at, but misspeaking during an announcement is an easy mistake to make, and a mistake that doesn’t have any bearing at all on the result of the game. It is, however, another sign that Ochoa is a bit uncomfortable with the microphone on: He also incorrectly announced the winner of the coin flip in the Hall of Fame Game before correcting himself. The regular officials, who have already been spreading word that the NFL embellished Ochoa’s credentials and that he was let go by the Lingerie Football League, will surely have fun with this one.
Much more important than whether the replacement referees are comfortable behind the microphone is whether they’re capable of properly enforcing the rules. That came under question in Buffalo, where the replacement officials were booed after a glaring screwup of a ruling on a punt that was downed at the 4-yard line. The officials incorrectly ruled the punt a touchback, but the referee got it right after the Bills challenged. And that referee knew which city he was in, too.