Ed Hochuli gives advice on how to admit a mistake

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In 2008, Ed Hochuli cost the Chargers a game against the Broncos by wrongly ruling that Denver quarterback Jay Cutler had thrown an incompletion, when he had actually fumbled. Afterward Hochuli apologized and admitted he had botched the call.

The apology wasn’t much consolation to the Chargers or their fans, but it apparently impressed the folks at Bloomberg Businessweek, who have turned to Hochuli for the annual “how to” issue, proclaiming him the expert who knows how to admit a mistake.

“We’re here today to talk about how to admit a mistake,” Hochuli says in a video at the Bloomberg Businessweek site. “No sense trying to hide from it. You learn from the mistake you made, you learn why, why did it happen, what can I do to prevent it from happening again, how do I improve from this. But be forthright about it. And that’s how you admit a mistake.”

Bloomberg Businessweek describes itself as the place to find “advice from more than 60 CEOs, tech visionaries, politicians, media and sports personalities, designers, and artists on ‘How To’ address real problems, both on a global scale and within the walls of your own office.” So Hochuli is now considered one of America’s foremost authorities on the right way to admit mistakes.

Some day, it would be nice to see NFL referees who are experts on how not to make mistakes in the first place.

52 responses to “Ed Hochuli gives advice on how to admit a mistake

  1. Funny how the refs who actually admit their mistakes catch the most flak. I guess that is why so few are willing to.

  2. Alot of people rag on this guy…….but i feel it’s mostly out of respect…..everyone messes up, he manned up, he didn’t come out and bitch and moan that no one could do his job, he didn’t throw anyone under the bus, he owned up.

    And actually, shame on you M.D. Smith for [it’d be nice to seee no mistakes in the first place]…..they are humans…….i guess you are the only perfect human on this earth.

  3. This strange and unusual concept is known in some remote areas as … integrity.

  4. “Some day, it would be nice to see NFL referees who are experts on how not to make mistakes in the first place.”


    While I completely agree with this sentiment, a simple question is in order: why is there a built in assumption that all of these outrageously bad calls are never intentional? Corruption happens everywhere else and no one is shocked. What makes NFL refs more virtuous than every other strata of society? There’s big money in gambling on NFL games, and yet none of that money has ever been used to influence any NFL outcome, ever? Really?

  5. That call really hurt… but not as much as the Marlon McCree fumble… uhhh, why me?? lol:)

  6. I remember that game. It’s the only time I felt bad for a ref for missing a call. You could see the pain in his eyes. I’m 100% sure he was pulling for the Chargers when they met in week 17 that season in a win you’re in playoff game. Lucky for him the Chargers blew out the Broncos and the whole city of San Diego forgave him on the spot lol

  7. I expect perfect refereeing will happen the same time this site no longer posts typos and grammar errors. Joking aside, unrealistic to believe any human effort will be free of mistakes. My old colonel said it best: “Admit it, fix it, and move on.”

  8. If he’s doing a game count on an extra 20 minutes because he needs two paragraphs to give a call so he can show off his guns under his one size too small shirt

  9. I don’t think we can expect individual referees to become experts at “not making a mistake in the first place.” Anyone who takes the job is bound to make a few in a season at the least.

    What we *could* expect is a better system for avoiding and/or correcting mistakes when they’re made. Using a replay system in which all replays are reviewed immediately in a central location staffed by a “replay review committee” would be a good place to start.

  10. what’s the point of admitting to these type of game changing mistakes if you can’t fix them realtime? seems pointless in my opinion. that team still lost the game and can’t get that back. An apology or admittance of failure does nothing.

  11. You want to see a world where refs don’t make mistakes? Do you believe in a higher power? People make mistakes dude, get over yourself.

  12. What cost the Chargers the game was their inability to put the Broncos away. Every botched play the team misfired on throughout the game is equally responsible for their loss. We can say “what if” about the Hochuli call, and also about every single play of the game.

    Your last statement feeds into the weird culture-wide notion that mistakes are unacceptable in life. When, in fact, they are inevitable, and can never be eliminated.

    Also in fact, sports would not exist if mistakes could be eliminated. Athletes try to make every shot, block every shot, hit every pitch, strike out every batter, catch every pass, never throw an interception, etc. There is a lot of success in athletics, but right alongside it is failure and mistakes. Games are the aggregate of all those individual experiences – of competitors trying and failing to be perfect, and the drama that results.

    But referees are supposed to be exempt from that? Let’s face it, perfection in that task is superhuman.

  13. Some day, it would be nice to see NFL referees who are experts on how not to make mistakes in the first place.

    Nah,… you’re not asking for too much at all! Never making a mistake is ONLY something that no human being has ever accomplished before in the history of the world including Jesus Christ. Come on refs, get with the program!.. it’s so simple!

    Maybe it would be nice if one day a team was actually so much superior than the other team, that the refs decisions would have zero impact on the outcome. We are all such hypocrites. We beg for parody and then cry when the ball doesn’t bounce our way.

  14. Simpering and groveling like Ed Hochuli did is actually about the worst way to admit a mistake. I’m sure 99% of the pro sports officials were embarrassed by his pathetic display.

  15. Come-on… that parting comment in the article was uncalled for.

    Some day, it would be nice to read an article here where you didn’t try to get the last uncreative, sarcastic remark in.

  16. Just one mistake, huh? Every game I see with Hochuli involves making himself the center of attention with borderline/questionable calls. He’ll usually blow one big call per game.

  17. Nobody will ever be perfect…. Pft throwing him under the bus for admitting what he did was wrong and getting recognition for doing it when not a single player or coach involved with the bounty program…. Or anything else in the entire league for that matter… EVER admits wrongdoing … Well. Pft… You are wrong

    But you won’t admit it , im sure

  18. What a snarky little comment by the author at the end of the post.

    Anyone who actually expects perfection is delusional, especially in sports.

    Players, coaches and management make mistakes all the time.

    Let he who is without error cast the first aspersion…

  19. Ed Hochuli makes a critical error that costs the Chargers a game, mans up about it, and he’s still vilified by fans everywhere.

    Jim Joyce makes a critical error that costs Armando Galarraga a perfect game, mans up about it, and is lauded as the greatest umpire since sliced bread because of it.

    Pick a response and apply it uniformly, folks.q

  20. Some day, it would be nice to see NFL referees who are experts on how not to make mistakes in the first place.
    Coming from the blog that has multiple typos per day… just sayin’.

  21. damnyoulinelliot says: Apr 13, 2012 5:36 PM

    nah, Hochuli should’ve approached it like Jim Joyce blowing Gallaraga’s perfect game. Admit the mistake then, on the spot, not way 4 years.
    Hochuli did admit it that day. He didn’t wait 4 years… this post is just about him being selected for an article about how to admit such a mistake. The issue is, Hochuli is still getting pounded for making the mistake.

  22. At least Hochuli showed a lot of integrity in manning-up to his error.

    On the other hand, the NFL routinely ignores or makes excuses for bad officiating. Exhibit 1 is the hatchet-job by Pete Marelli and crew during the 2009 NFC CG (Vikings @ Saints). In that game, it was obvious to everyone that Favre was regularly targeted for cheap-shots (under bounty, as we now all know), but Marelli and crew ignored all but one of them. Also, there were at least 4 or 5 other non-calls or blown calls, all against the Vikings, which, if they were properly called would almost surely have resulted in the Vikings winning the game and advancing to the Super Bowl.

    Marelli and crew should have been fired on the spot, but they didn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

  23. Coming from a site with frequent spelling and grammatical errors. You even have the use of spell check….or you can re read something, refs don’t have either luxury.

  24. I was never pissed at Hochuli for that call. Remember, he admitted the mistake right there on the field.

    The problem was the inconsistency with that rule at the time, so instant replay could only correct his mistake part-way (ball placed at spot of fumble) instead of all the way (possession given to SD).

  25. Wow. That last line stole the thunder of that entire post.

    If this is supposed to be an informative, high profile site, maybe you shouldn’t be unprofessional?

    At least Hochuli admits his embarassing mistake.

  26. He needs to admit how bad he screwed up the hit on Cutler by Suh.

    “Went to the head of the back of the runner”

  27. Maybe if this guy didn’t bring attention to himself EVERY game he officiates then he wouldn’t get ragged on so much. From taking forever on challenges right down to his own styling of a first down signal, this guy is extremely in love with himself. Funny how he ends up getting rewarded for apologizing when it should be the right thing to do, and move on. No, let’s pay him to be in a stupid video on how to apologize. And wear a shirt that fits for crying out loud.

  28. fin72 says:
    Hochuli sucks… Just an attention craving prick.

    Something tells me you wouldn’t say that to his face- dude’s got some guns, and might pop you in the mouth. Going back to that Chargers game…It didn’t matter as is anyhow. The Chargers would’ve given that game back somehow, and probably in ignominious fashion- bad clock management, or Rivers fumbling a snap while trying to kneel down and end a game.

  29. after giving a stellar apology… hochuli introduced the crowd to his 2 smokin biceps… kapow!

  30. As a Chargers fan, I remember that game pretty well. Yeah it sucked, but Hochuli was super upfront about it, admitted he messed it up, and owned up to it, and even though it probably did cost them the game, I was cool with it once he did that. It was a simple matter of a guy making a mistake.

    And I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I thought it was rad that Denver went for two, risking it all for the win. If they were looking at it as “Look, we kinda got lucky there, we’ll give you guys a chance to get it back” than that’s pretty sweet.

  31. Did anyone ask him about the Dec. 5 2010 game Bears @ Lions and the Suh push on Cutler? He didn’t admit it was wrong, IN FACT, he said it was a violent hit and it was “my job to protect jay Cutler”. NO…JACK WAGON, your job is to enforce the rules. A QB beyond the LOS is then considered a runner unless he slides feet first giving himself up which he did not to. NO, Suh didn’t touch his head either, video shows a 2 hand shove at the name plate. SO, not only ar you not allowed to tackle, but they wont be switching to hand touch either huh. Admit to that one and then I’ll be impressed on this ish. NO, I’m not butt hurt either, I just find it funny that ed’s biggest flops are in relation to [and more often than not] favoring Cutler. Is Cutler his hook up for prescription anti deppresants or something? WTF?

  32. As the rumor goes, he was then disbarred by the AZ Bar for admitting the mistake, as a lawyer – and especially a managing partner – is not allowed to admit such a catastrophe…..

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