Ed Hochuli’s got some explaining to do.
While documenting a 12-men on the field penalty in the third quarter of today’s Panthers-Cardinals wild card game, Hochuli’s microphone stayed hot for a moment.
At the tail end of his explanation, he said: “I got the word from Jungle Boy that was a good call.”
Those words never made it to the ESPN broadcast, as they cut to a replay as he was saying it. But it was clearly audible to the 70,000 or so in the stands and a press box full of reporters.
We’ve asked the league for any possible comment or explanation, and a request has been made for a pool reporter to ask Hochuli about it.
NFL vice president of officials Dean Blandino just tweeted that it was in reference to replay official Tom Sifferman.
“That is Sifferman’s nickname on his crew,” Blandino wrote. “Hochuli mistakenly opened up his stadium mic, instead of his wireless mic to the other officials.”
While not as bad as it initially sounded, Hochuli gets enough air time as it is, and needs to be more careful with his microphones.
UPDATE 7:58 p.m. ET: NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed that the reference was “inadvertent.
“Ed Hochuli was referring to replay official Tom Sifferman when his comment that “jungle boy” confirmed the penalty for 12-men on the field was audible on the in-stadium microphone. Hochuli intended to communicate that information to the officiating crew through the official-to-official communications system, but inadvertently broadcast the remark on the stadium microphone. Sifferman, a long-time field judge on Hochuli’s crew before becoming a replay official, is nicknamed “jungle boy” by members of the crew for touring a jungle on a trip to Hawaii.”