Since we praised ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown in our most recent post, we now need to balance things out by twisting tails.
In the most recent edition of the show, Chris Mortensen reported that Ed Hochuli’s crew won’t be working Sunday night’s game between the Broncos and the Chargers.
Mort said that the schedule was set in June, and that Hochuli’s crew drew Titans-Colts for Week Seventeen.
But even in the unlikely event that the same crew would have been assigned to work two games between the same two teams, V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira surely would have reshuffled the deck, given Hochuli’s much-publicized blunder at the end of the Week Two win by the Broncos.
The nit we’re picking on this one, however, relates to the perception espoused by the likes of Chris Berman that Sunday’s winner-take-all showdown between Denver and San Diego absolves Hochuli of his error.
As a reader pointed out, and as we’ve confirmed via inspection of the standings, if Hochuli hadn’t screwed up, the Chargers would have clinched the AFC West crown on Sunday, and even a win by the Broncos in Week Seventeen wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
As it now stands, a win by the Chargers will give the two teams an 8-8 record, and the division crown via the second tiebreakers — division record.  [Editor’s note:  In a prior version of this post, we said it would come down to the third tiebreaker.  We apologize for the error.  It was an attempt at humor.  (Hey, if it worked for Rob Parker, it works for us, too.).]


  1. Why would they be using the third tie-breaker?
    The Chargers hold the second tie breaker (record in divisional games) over the Broncos, Hochuli game included.

  2. florio what’s your problem? the chargers would have won that game if they would have played better maybe. it is not because of the call at the end, it is because of the fact that they played bad enough that they were vulnerable to a bad call at the end of the game. Had they played better, it wouldn’t have had an impact.

  3. @GarrettBarnes:
    Did you watch the game?
    They won the game. Period.
    The referee and the NFL admitted as much. It has nothing to do with “playing better” or being “vulnerable”.
    They were the ones that made the play (recovering the fumble) that won the game.
    What’s your problem?

  4. He’ll be absolved if the Chargers win, which they should. But if Denver wins the charger fans will be blaming Ed for their entire underachieving season. Its human nature. Its always someone else’s fault.

  5. Get over it.
    Nothing in the past matters.
    Both teams are 0-0 and can win this game to get in. How many chances does a team need before they stop whining about what happened 4 months ago.

  6. …..GarrettBarnes says:
    florio what’s your problem? the chargers would have won that game if they would have played better maybe. it is not because of the call at the end, it is because of the fact that they played bad enough that they were vulnerable to a bad call at the end of the game. Had they played better, it wouldn’t have had an impact…..
    They did win the game. The game was taken back from them on a bad call. That gave Denver more opportunities than were actually supposed to have. The Chargers played good enough to beat Denver. They made a play at the end of the game that beat Denver. Just not Denver and the refs.

  7. We did enough to win buddy! We recovered a fumble with one minute left we would have taken a knee and the game was over! Ed Hockalugi gave them new life.

  8. One perspective that Berman might’ve been looking at (and I say this only because I like Chris Berman) is that because the Chargers now have a chance to still win the division and still get into the playoffs that it gets Hochuli off the hook for having been blamed early in the season for screwing the Chargers out of an opportunity for both.
    Charger fans can scream all they want about how they should have the division wrapped up and should already be in the playoffs. Truth is, if they deserved to be in the playoffs then they should’ve won at least one of the other 7 games they lost this year. They weren’t screwed out of all those victories, were they?

  9. I have to agree with the first poster, I was always taught not to let the team get into a situation where a bad call can beat you.
    Speaking of bad calls Florio, did you happen to see the CBS pre game show yesterday where they played the Holes TD catch frame by frame and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the right call ended up being made.

  10. If guys who screwed up during the last Charger-Bronco game are to be excluded, Norv Turner must also be kept out of the stadium.

  11. Ah yes let the whining commence. Waaaa waaaa we won. Waaaa waaaaa refs. Waaaa waaa Devner. One thing for sure about the Chargers and their fans, nobody can even come close to outwhining them.

  12. Wouldn’t it be the 2nd tiebreaker, division games? San Diego is 4-1 and Denver is 3-2 now. If San Diego won the Hochuli game they would be 5-0 and Denver would be 2-3.

  13. …..MIBucs1982 says:
    Truth is, if they deserved to be in the playoffs then they should’ve won at least one of the other 7 games they lost this year. They weren’t screwed out of all those victories, were they? …..
    I love it when people say “deserved” like teams are entitled and dont have to earn it. But for shits and giggles I’ll play along. By using your own logic the Chargers “deserve” to be in the playoffs. They have won 8 games so far. Therefore yesterdays victory over Tampa clinched the division and a first round home game vs. Indy. Unfortunately only 7 of them count as wins because of a horrendous call. So instead they have to play a winner take all game this week.
    Nah, they dont deserve to be in the playoffs at all. They havent earned it. It doesnt matter what happened in the other 7 games. None of which was better than a 7 point loss (not that that matters, just saying). They won the deciding game in week 2 and it was taken away.
    End of discussion.

  14. This isn’t about Charger fans screaming and yelling – it’s about sports outlets nationwide getting the facts wrong.
    Hochuli isn’t absolved. As noted by Florio, the Chargers have already clinched with the correct call. Mike is 100% correct that the ass-covering attempt by the media to “absolve” a massive blunder is factually inaccurate.
    However, the tie-breaker information is inaccurate. As it stands, the second tie-breaker (divisional record) breaks the tie on Sunday should the Chargers win and is the reason why the Chargers would have clinched had the call been made correctly by Hochuli.
    The Chargers are currently 4-1 in the division, with their only loss coming against the Broncos in Week 2. The Broncos are 3-2 in division. If the Chargers win on Sunday, the Chargers win the division because their division record will be 5-1 to the Broncos 3-3.
    If the call was made correctly in Week 2, the Chargers would be 5-0 in division with the Broncos at 2-3. Even if the Chargers would have lost on Sunday (giving both the Chargers and Broncos 8-8 records), their 5-1 division record trumps the Broncos 3-3 AFC West record.
    As Kevin Spacey said in LA Confidential as Jack Viscenze: “Just the facts”, and ESPN got the facts wrong.

  15. And let me make it clear that I am just pleased that the Chargers have a chance to win the division on Sunday. If the Chargers lose at home, this Charger fan will not blame the season on Hochuli.
    It’s the revisionist history that flies in the face of facts in order to soothe poor Hochuli’s ego and feelings that needed to be addressed – and Florio matter-of-factly posting addressed the inaccuracy of the “regular” media in their stampede to absolve Hochuli.

  16. This is ESPN doing what it does best. Sensationalizing a non-issue. Chargers got screwed in week two but no amount of debate is going to change the outcome. Why is that goofball even bringing it up? It would be news if Hochuli and Co. were working this game but they’re not. I bet most of this script was written by a pimple-faced Disney writer back in September. ESPN makes Walt’s frozen head cry.

  17. Florio has it totally right. Hochuli will be absolved when Denver comes to SD and takes a whuppin’. Frankly, if SD beats Denver, they should thank Hochuli: he’ll have made them the first 4-8 team to make the playoffs, and potentially the first 8-8 SB champ.

  18. I like how everyone assumes that if the Charges had won a game 3 months ago that EVERYTHING after that would have happened EXACTLY the same way.
    How do you know that if the Broncos knew they could have been eliminated yesterday that they would have played exactly the same way? Maybe they win that game, and both teams are 8-7 and next week’s game is still win and you’re in.
    Or maybe the Chargers win the Hochuli game, get on a roll, and end up clinching the division a couple weeks ago? Or, they get cocky and over-confident (what? the Charges and Philip Rivers get cocky? naw, couldn’t happen) and end up losing to the Jets or Raiders?
    That’s right, you don’t know, you can’t know.

  19. Spank,
    I don’t believe in teams “deserving” anything. The point I was making there is pretty simple. If you “deserve” to be in the playoffs, you don’t need help getting there. I’m a Bucs fan and I’m one that doesn’t feel that my team “deserves” to be in the playoffs. 9-3 turns into 9-6 and suddenly we go from making our own way to needing help. That’s not the mark of a playoff team. If we get in, great, but if we don’t whose fault is it?
    But, since we’re talking about Hochuli, let’s look back at that game and remember something significant. The Chargers had a chance to beat the Broncos after that bad call. The call didn’t reverse a touchdown or give the Broncos any extra field position. It just gave them a few more plays. Plays that the Chargers defense weren’t able to stop all quarter. All they had to do was hold them to a field goal and they would’ve won the game. But they let Jay Cutler score a touchdown and THEN they let Jay Cutler score a two point conversion. Ed Hochuli’s fault? Nope. Chargers Defense’s fault. It wasn’t Ed Hochuli’s fault that the defense left the wide receivers wide open was it? I don’t recall him directing traffic with those big orange flags telling Jay Cutler which receiver to throw to.
    Chargers fans need to quit whining about a bad call that they had ever opportunity to negate and let go right through they’re fingers. Stop complaining about something that can’t be changed and focus on what can be. Beat the Broncos, win out the division, and forget about that stupid call.
    Seriously…I didn’t know that there were so many babies passing themselves off as football fans. You’d think the NFL was sponsored by Huggies or something.

  20. No mulligans in football, MIBucs1982. There’s a good reason for that as nearly every NFL result can be reversed by judiciously employing your “mulligan”. 😉
    Fact is that the Chargers held the Broncos to 3 and out, 3 and out, interception in the red zone and fumble in the red zone —- errrrrrr, TD after the mulligan. Quite a second half performance by Jeff George reincarnated that I see repeating itself (without the mulligan) all night long come Sunday eve.
    Onward to Sunday’s winner take all game – and I’m feeling mighty good about that one. May the best team win.

  21. It doesn’t make everything right… all things being equal except the right call being made, the Chargers would be resting starters on Sunday playing a meaningless game against the eliminated Broncos. If they lose a starter (or more) Sunday AND win then it makes Hoculi’s call even more damaging.
    But I see the whole “Chargers should have stopped them after the bad call” argument too. Regardless either team won’t make it far in the playoffs.

  22. lezmaka
    when is the last time the SD CHARGERS lost to the raiders? Look at defense (or LACK THERE OF)……HACK-A-LEE SCREWED SD

  23. the chargers let ed off the hook by choking in alot of close games this year while denver was trying to hand them the division
    as it turns out, denver’s kept trying to hand them the division all season and sd looks like they’re finally willing to accept
    who knows though, us sd fans know anything can happen when it involves our chargers haha

  24. MIBucs1982: It’s not that teams “deserve” anything for going 8-8 or 9-7 or whatever record that have. It’s that they deserve something given that there’s no unfair external scenarios impeding upon them.
    How about if the refs were literally in the tank for 4 other AFC teams (I don’t think they were for the Broncos, but stick with me) and made it so they all ended up 15-1. Now assume the Titans go 14-2. Do they really “not deserve” it? If we can clearly see that they would have been in at 14-2 were it not for the refs, how can you say that they didn’t earn it, and hence deserve it? If we can see that, barring one external unfair factor, they would have made it, then shouldn’t they deserve it?
    Or how about if Goodell all of a sudden decided he hated the state of Tennessee, and therefore, the Titans are disqualified from the playoffs this year. Wouldn’t you say that the Titans DESERVED to be in? I think you would, because what Goodell would be doing would be unfair, outside what the rules of the NFL are supposed to be, and external, not something the Titans brought upon themselves. In exactly the same way, the week 2 debacle was unfair, outside of what the rules of the NFL are supposed to be, and external, and not brought upon the Chargers by themselves.
    Finally, the argument that “the Chargers still had a chance to win it” is ridiculous, because so many games are decided by close situations that aren’t from a missed call, and if you give ANY team enough extra chances against another they can win. The Lions could have beat the Saints last week if every Saints first down was called back on a penalty, and every Lions drive was prolonged and turnover negated by calls. You couldn’t tell Saints fans to stop whining – at some point, it would be THE difference in the game. And in the SD/DEN week 2 case, since it was close, it only took one incorrect call to be THE difference in the game. The Broncos won 6 games by 7 points or less. Go ahead and give all 6 of those losing teams a free extra possession late in the game – do you think any of them might have won? Would you then blame the Broncos for not stopping them all, or call bullshit? I think we both know the answer.

  25. It doesn’t absolve Hochuli of anything. Had he made the correct call, the Chargers would have the division wrapped up already and could be RESTING some of their STARTERS to get ready for the playoffs like the other divisional winners will be able to do. Now, they still have to fight it out to win the division and cannot allow anyone to rest. Then, we still have to worry about the officials trying to hand the game to Golden Boy Cutler.

  26. Who cares. Neither team can compete with the big boys. Chargers/Broncos would be owned by the Titans, Steelers, Ravens, and Colts. Their only shot at advancing past round 1 is hosting the Jets. Anything else, guarantee to lose.

  27. While technically this is true, the Chargers are a 7-8 team in a terrible division with a chance to get a playoff spot in a conference that might leave an 11-5 team at home this January – and all they need is a single victory at home against an awful Broncos team.
    If the Chargers don’t make the playoffs, you can blame Hochuli if you like. But the fact would be that the Chargers just weren’t good enough this year.

  28. Absolutely ridiculous to suggest that everything would have played out the same way if Hochuli hadn’t blown the early whistle. It’s also completely disingenous to suggest that the call was absolutely “wrong.” He blew the whistle because he saw an incomplete pass. It happened at light speed.
    I can tell you this – the Broncos wouldn’t have been beaten by KC in week 4 if they had lost the Chargers game. And they wouldn’t have lost to the Raiders at home if they were in a dog fight for the division. How’s that for revisioninsm?

  29. I feel bad for Ed. He made an honest mistake and it really effected his year in a negative way. He had a great career as a ref and this put a giant dark mark on his years. Sad to see but you can’t really call it an overreaction to be up in arms about the call, it’s legit to be upset. It’s also sad how the East Coast media has been labeling the west coast teams as soft and insult their fans by calling them soft. The Boston Globe and their jokes of reporters really started the “crybaby” insults and it became a copout for rival fans to insult Charger fans.
    When ANYTHING happens it turns into a “whhhaaaaaaaaaa stop complaining crybabies” fest.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.