Ed Hochuli sees no point in making referees full-time employees


The NFL has discussed making referees full-time employees, rather than part-timers who work in the NFL while also having day jobs. One of the NFL’s most famous referees doesn’t see the point in that.

Longtime ref Ed Hochuli said in an interview with 60 Minutes Sports that he already works full-time hours as a referee, and he fits his other job, as an attorney, into his off time from officiating. He doesn’t think he would put in any more hours to refereeing even if it were his only job.

“I am a full-time official,” Hochuli said. “I’m as full-time as the coaches or the players or anybody could be. If they said, ‘Ed, you can’t be a lawyer anymore, you can only do this,’ there’s nothing else that I could do.”

When Hochuli calls himself “as full-time as the coaches,” that’s a little hard to swallow. NFL coaches work obscenely long hours, and it’s hard to believe that Hochuli would still be able to juggle a career as a lawyer if he were really working as much as coaches do.

But there is something to be said for the idea that changing the status of the referees from “part-time” to “full-time” wouldn’t really change much of anything. The NFL is already paying Hochuli $200,000 a year, and Hochuli and the other officials are already working long hours studying the rules and preparing for games. If making the refs full-time employees would make the calls on the field better, it would certainly be worth it, but Hochuli may be right that full-time referees wouldn’t be better referees.

38 responses to “Ed Hochuli sees no point in making referees full-time employees

  1. Yes, I’m sure he puts in 120 hour weeks every Sept-Jan just like coaches do.

    The truth is that most refs have a business on the side. They do their little referee camp during the summer, then during the season they fly in for a game, work, and fly back to their day job. They don’t want to have to choose and they certainly don’t want to be held accountable for their calls because then it becomes a second job instead of something they do for fun.

    I want full-time refs who take things seriously and are actually afraid of being let go if they screw up.

  2. If he’s truly putting in as many hours as he says, that’s a sad commentary on him. Guy might be the worst referee in the NFL.

  3. He would – I mean sheesh – he already has two other full time jobs, a lawyer and the guy that hands out tickets to the show….

    [removes sunglasses]

    …the gun show, that is.

  4. 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. He was giving him the business.

    Who cares what Ed thinks, why is he always the go-to ref. I dont get it. Is it the biceps?

  5. Can’t stand Ed. He just like to get his face time (thus the 60 minutes interview). I swear every game i see him do there’s twice as many flags as usual…

    Probably just so he gets his camera time.

  6. beckhruby says:
    Sep 5, 2013 3:48 PM
    15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. He was giving him the business.

    Who cares what Ed thinks, why is he always the go-to ref. I dont get it. Is it the biceps?
    He’s the head of the referee association and is in charge of administering the rule book comprehension test before every season. Not saying I personally care what he has to say, but that’s why he’s always the go-to…

  7. of course he does because most have been lawyers and well off employees/employers. He would take a pay cut to be just a referee. They were well to do people because they thought that it would curb illegal activities.

    I do not care if they make them full time or part time as long as they call all games equally. So if your calling one team for holding, call the other team for holding as well.

  8. Ed likes having a a 200k parttime job that he only has to work weekends 17-20 weekends a year.

    If it was his fulltime job he would actually have to be worried about losing it and be more accountable.

  9. “I wanna put in an application. Do I need a resume or can I just go pick up a shirt from Foot Locker and apply in person?”

    Application accepted. Now you get drive 45 minutes out to a wheat field to Referee a game between two town’s High Schools so small they play 8-Man Football. Do that for a few years and you’ll move up to 11-Man Football. THEN if you’re good enough and lucky enough you might get called up to NCAA Div II, or some Junior College Division. Do that for 10 years, and if you’re good enough and lucky enough you may get called up to NCAA Division I. And then after several years of that, if you’re really good, and know the right people, AND if you’re lucky. You MIGHT be an NFL Ref.

  10. What Mr. Biceps is really saying is: “I am for the status quo”

    Without having full time referees, the consequences for poor officiating mean nothing. What incentive do you have to improve if it is virtually impossible to fire you, and when the NFL threatened to fire you, you always have another high paying job as backup?

    Full time equals year round training & also makes it easier to hire or fire referees.

  11. Perhaps not the best person to ask, as he would have to give up, or curtail severely, another lucrative career.

    Ask the players, coaches, GM’s, owners, season ticket holders, and other fans if they think the refs should be full time and have more accountability. Or, at the very least, if the refs should be full time for August-January. Those that don’t want to be, like Mr. Ed, can leave their resignation at the door.

  12. If it aint broke…don’t fix it.

    Unfortunately, its big time broken and needs fixing. Really not all on the ref’s. The idiots at the NFL offices change and add rules so much that the officials just take the “when in doubt just throw a flag” stance.

  13. Lets see… Ed spent 250K on an education (including law school) … to make a living eating crap from players .coaches .fans .the nfl . and the owners… (as a full time ref)… seriously i think he does it as a hobby… you don’t need a law degree to call offensive holding… I can do it from my couch.

    Ed… I agree… ridiculous.

  14. Hochuli is putting in so many hours, he doesn’t even make time to shave anymore, based on what he looked like in much of that interview footage.

  15. “I wanna put in an application. Do I need a resume or can I just go pick up a shirt from Foot Locker and apply in person?”

    If anybody could do it, it would pay minimum wage. It’s $200k because it’s a highly specialized job.

    It’s funny to read these types of posts about how overpaid these guys are for their cushy part-time job. If you think you can do better, sign up for a local high school association and give it a try. 9 out of 10 wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure at that level, let alone the NFL.

    @sportsdrenched – that’s one of the best posts I’ve ever read on PFT.

  16. I love Ed “Flex” Hochuli. He saunters up to the best camera spot when a flag is tossed, slowly brings his ‘guns’ up to chest height, hands slightly tensed to almost make fists before announcing the infraction. Then, with precision born of long hours in front of a mirror, he strikes the appropriate pose, arms rippling and abs rigid. If it’s a 1st Down, it’s akin to a Taekwondo Master gauging the chi needed to send the edge of his outstretched hand knifing through a hard-baked, 2″ thick pine plank. A personal foul gets the same treatment, with a slight variation. Instead, the knife edge is to his own forearm. “Flex” has to be careful in this case lest he actually strike himself and sever an arm.
    “Flex” is all about the pose and the drama.

  17. The job status of the referees is not the problem. The quality and consistency is. They have a tough job to do but they are wildly inconsistent. They routinely make calls on crucial plays that they did not make earlier in the game. They also fail to call stuff they were calling earlier. I just want them to call the game by the rules. The teams/players/game scenario should NEVER matter but it often does. Not seeing something is understandable as long as they don’t make calls based on assumptions. They also need to get rid of the “agenda calls”. If they see something that is against the rules, call it. Do not look for or over-emphasize specific hot-button issues at the expense of the rest of the play/game.

    There were really only 2 main differences between the “real” refs and the temporary refs from last year. 1) The real refs controlled the nuances of the game’s production much better than the temps. 2) The real refs were supremely confident…even when they were horribly wrong.

    If the referees had any fear of losing that $200K part time job, they might be a little better. Full time status won’t help unless it is an avenue to remove the sub-par guys–but the union will prevent that at all cost.

  18. im o ne of those people who say there should be full time refs for a few reasons

    1) itll improve play on the field dramatically when refs have nothing else to do but study nfl/rules/plays and doesnt have a side job to take away from that

    2) why not create more jobs? nfl refs are lawyers or other good jobs..why not give the job to someone who needs it let them become full time and have money in their pockets..lawyers that are officials are just rich people becoming richer.

  19. I can certainly see where Ed is coming from–it’s a pretty sweet gig for him as things stand now. But, that’s also why this decision won’t be made just by Ed Hochuli.

  20. trapshoot says:
    Sep 5, 2013 4:10 PM
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!


    If it ain’t broke, break it!

  21. NFL refs are a joke. How many game-altering, horrible calls do we see every year? And yet it never gets any better.

  22. The point, Ed, is that if you give the position “full-time” as a label then presumably you would have more applicants.

    More applicants makes more competition.

    More competition makes better officials.

    But then the current officials would have more competition, so I can see why they are uncomfortable with that.

  23. Everyone loves to talk about how bad the refs are.

    First off, have you ever taken a look at the NFL rulebook? It is about a foot thick. The language in it was written by a committee in order to make the rules as clear as possible, which means that even simply understood rules appear to be written by an infuriated lawyer in a hybrid of Mandarin Chinese and Phoenician.

    Second, think these judgment calls are easy? How could they be so blind as to call that a helmet to helmet hit? Go out and ask two of your friends to line their cars up on opposite ends of an abandoned road. Now have them both floor it and get up to full speed so they crash head on, spectacularly. While the cars are hurtling towards each other, hop on a motorcycle and chase behind one of them. After the crash, try and determine which portion of the bumper first made contact with the other car, in four seconds, in front of all the hottest girls you’ve ever met, when the penalty for being wrong is having your pants pulled down and being hit in the crotch with a hammer.

    It is nice and easy to sit on a couch with 70″ of 1080i, a bird’s eye view, and multiple replays and second guess these guys. I’m willing to bet, however, that a lot of you are making the holding call because you saw the laundry on the field already.

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