NFL fires official Hugo Cruz, who missed false start in Chargers-Browns

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One of the most blatant blown calls in the NFL this year was a missed false start on the Chargers against the Browns, when left tackle Russell Okung moved early on a play when the Chargers scored a touchdown. The official who missed that call has reportedly been fired.

Hugo Cruz, the down judge who should have flagged Okung and blown the play dead, has been fired, according to FootballZebras.com.

According to the report, this is the first time in at least half a century that the NFL has fired an official during a season. That call was not the only one that Cruz missed, and the report says one source described Cruz as not “maintaining a very high level of performance over a sustained period.” So this firing was not about one call, although that blatant bad call may have been the last straw.

It’s very, very rare for the NFL to fire an official, and when it does happen it’s done after the season as a result of a review of the official’s entire body of work. For an official to get fired during the middle of a season, he had to be doing a terrible job, and the NFL felt it had to act immediately.

81 responses to “NFL fires official Hugo Cruz, who missed false start in Chargers-Browns

  1. Good. I hope this send a strong message to the rest of the Zebra’s. The officiating has sucked more recently the I can ever remember. I hope this shakes things up.

  2. Fire the moron who cost the Packers a victory against the Vikings with his absurdly bad roughing call.

  3. Firing officials who miss blatant calls will become more common as the NFL wades into the legalized gambling public pool. Firing officials is cheaper and and easier than dealing with a scandal.

  4. Let’s take away all the replays and just watch the play as it develops. 95% of fans complaining about bad calls would stop. Bad calls have always been around we just didn’t notice them as much. Now with 100 cameras and a replay of every play from several angels we see everything.

  5. Of all the questionable calls in the last three years, false start, gets one fired. Just makes the head of officiating a little suspect for what exactly he does.

  6. So, how come these other refs who either make up rules, don’t know them or whiff completely don’t get fired like this guy?

    We see an illegal formation in the SB, that was completely missed where the ref nodded his head to Jeffrey allowing the illegal formation. So, the ref had knowledge it was not legal.

    This stuff cannot be made up.

  7. All of these guys are professionals in some other area outside of football. Hugo will survive. He’ll likely get a reffing gig in college anyway.

  8. Some calls are rather difficult, two that are not are false start and offsides. The official is looking down the LOS at the ball. It’s damn near impossible to miss a guy moving before the ball is snapped or missing a guy coming across the line before the ball is snapped.

  9. That call was not the only one that Cruz missed, and the report says one source described Cruz as not “maintaining a very high level of performance over a sustained period.”

    That would seem to imply it is more than just this year which begs the question, why was he brought back this year.

  10. It is good that they fired him, and they can let go of the guy who says that the runners can get hit in the head. I think that is a point of emphasis this year of what NOT to do.

    Still, I wonder if the rules of the game are becoming too complicated for many of the people who are now reffing. It really should be a full time gig for all the refs.

  11. Since it’s now legal to gamble on football any suspicious activity by the officials will get them fired. The league would never say that was the reason but, I’m just sayin….

  12. Jerome Boogers routinely makes up calls that can’t be supported by replay. Time to terminate his employment.

  13. Good now Fire Ed Hochili’s son for blowing that direct hit on Baker Mayfield….Would have set the Browns up to win that game with a Field Goal.

    PS-Get over the fact that we tossed bottles at you 15 years ago, at least now they are plastic but can still be filled with piss….

  14. Mr. Wright 212 says: “While you’re at it, fire BOGER, CORRENTE, MORELLI and SARAH THOMAS, huh???”
    =========================

    The fact that you have Sarah Thomas on your list shows that you know nothing about officiating. Thomas has graded as very accurate in ALL levels that she’s done games in the past 20 years, including the NFL for the past three years.

  15. Hmmmmm… does the report say if the bad calls were favoring one of the two teams in the contest? I mean, could Cruz have been pulling a Tim Donaghy?

  16. thethunderofgunns says: “That’s the entire problem, it’s been way too long since it fired the last ref.”
    ==========================

    They routinely fire officials in the offseason when they get their final grading (every game official is evaluated on a weekly basis on every single play – Peter King did a whole series on it).

  17. I see refs miss calls every game. I also see refs toss the hanky on calls that replay shows should have never been called. Hugo Cruz is just a scapegoat for all the other terrible officials in the NFL. If all the sudden, like some say, it turns into a flag filled Sunday, it will show that the rest of the officials call games as they see fit. The NFL is fading fast. If you enjoy watching it, you better get your fill over the next couple years. New fans aren’t jumping on board and seasoned fans are turning their backs on the sport.

  18. “tylawspick6 says:
    October 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm
    So, how come these other refs who either make up rules, don’t know them or whiff completely don’t get fired like this guy?

    We see an illegal formation in the SB, that was completely missed where the ref nodded his head to Jeffrey allowing the illegal formation. So, the ref had knowledge it was not legal.

    This stuff cannot be made up.”
    —-
    Oh no. It can be made up. That’s not the issue. The issue is when you cross the point of believing all the made up stuff you imagine in your crazy head, then you get slapped with that silly diagnosis of schizophrenia.

  19. “The officiating has sucked more recently than I can ever remember”.

    “this should happen WAY more often with some of the officiating we have been witnessing over the last several recent years.”
    ___________

    These opinions are nothing more than recency bias. People have had the same tired old takes every year. 20 years ago people were saying officiating has never been worse. 20 years in the future people will be saying the same.

    The truth is that refereeing is as accurate as it has ever been. If anything, it is better with the advent of replay.

  20. At what point will the NFL invest enough resources in the officials so that they are paid in a manner reflecting their importance for game integrity? These are professionals and should be working on their skills year-round, not part-timers with other work-related responsibilities.

  21. If only Jeff Triplette’s last name had been Cruz, or Gonzalez, or Santiago, maybe we would have been spared eons of his incompetence.

    (Grabs popcorn and sits back waiting for the explosion of heads)

  22. “Let’s take away all the replays and just watch the play as it develops. 95% of fans complaining about bad calls would stop.”

    You’re dreaming that would just make it worse. Everybody has DVRs and can replay a missed call over and over again and still see that it happened. Taking the technology away from the refs and teams will not take it away from the fans and TV networks

  23. Wow, one of only two Hispanic refs and he gets fired? There have been much worse refs that have officiated NFL games and are still employed. What about the idiot crew that cost the Cowboys a field goal? Privileged much?

  24. Equating more scrutiny of officials to “legalized gambling” is ludicrous. Anyone who wanted to gamble on the NFL has always been able to do so, always. Gambling sponsored by the states simply makes it more convenient.

    “Legalized gambling” does not present any new issues for the NFL. Any such issues have existed for decades.

  25. akira1971 says:
    October 25, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    They routinely fire officials in the offseason when they get their final grading (every game official is evaluated on a weekly basis on every single play – Peter King did a whole series on it).

    ==========================================================

    Um, the context of the article is during a season. Pay attention.

  26. The Cruz blown call and the Hochuli blown call were so bad that one could only surmise that gambling could be involved. The NFL had to make this move and perhaps a few more.

  27. The NFL doesn’t want to get all the calls correct because there’s a lot of money being bet on games, and the NFL might be making a ton of money being a bit crooked. They have the video technology to see everything, and make all the correct calls, and they can do it without slowing down the game. So they pretend like they’re trying by sacrificing one official. It’s still great entertainment, even if the games are fixed. It doesn’t bother me because I don’t bet on games. I like the competition. We watch the Olympics and we know there’s a lot of shenanigans going on there too.

  28. rho1953 says:
    October 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm
    Fire the moron who cost the Packers a victory against the Vikings with his absurdly bad roughing call.
    **************************
    At no point in your incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on the page now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  29. rho1953 says:
    October 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm
    Fire the moron who cost the Packers a victory against the Vikings with his absurdly bad roughing call.
    **************************
    At no point in your incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this page is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  30. “Any chance of of Al Riveron being dumped next? He never should have been elevated to his current position. Had to be though in PC America now-a-days”.
    __________

    What in the world does Riveron have to do with being PC? Can you people continually whining about PC and SJW go off somewhere and complain amongst each other? Your intellect equates to that of those Mongel hordes depicted on the History Channel. Take your torches and pitchforks and find some real danger to crusade against.

  31. “Finally some appropriate action. It’s l-o-n-g overdue. Now PLEASE focus on the routine Patriot non-calls at Fauxboro!”

    ____________________________________________________________________

    So, when the Patriots win, it’s “Oh, cheating” or “refs!” but when they lose, it’s “This was a fair game, there were no bad calls in this one.” Believe it or not, New England has gotten screwed over a lot times in NFL history. Refer back to the 1976 playoff game against the Raiders on like 3rd and 18 late in the 4th quarter. The refs called a roughing the passer penalty on the Patriots’ defense. It was a bad call. That very same tuck rule was used against NE while playing the Jets in the 2001 season. The Pats lost the game despite recovering that fumble in the Jets’ territory, which was overturned. Instead of finishing 11-5, they could have finished the regular season at 12-4. Do you all realize just how asinine and petty you guys sound each season? You could do this for every NFL team.

  32. And yet Pete Morelli continues to be employed despite horrible officiating in every game he calls.

  33. rho1953 says:
    October 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm
    Fire the moron who cost the Packers a victory against the Vikings with his absurdly bad roughing call.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was probably the same official that called that absurdly bad roughing call on Kendricks that not only gave GB a fresh set of downs, but allowed them to score a TD that they needed just to tie the Vikes. Add that to our kicker missing 3 FG’s, and GB should have been beaten in regulation. So keep trying to throw excuses that won’t stick at the wall.

  34. Obviously he didn’t call a penalty when Green Bay needed one to win a game and had to go….

  35. To state or even imply that refs are impartial is lunacy. Or did everyone forget why Gene Steratore was removed from officiating any Steelers’ games? And yes, gambling has always been involved in the outcome of games. Refs are human, not divine.

  36. “when left tackle Russell Okung moved early on a play when the Chargers scored a touchdown.”

    This is his M.O. you could toss a flag on Okung probably half of the offensive plays for a false start. It’s one of the main reasons Seattle, and then Denver, didn’t keep him.

  37. Watching the play in question, that’s inexcusable to miss. That wasn’t a head bob or a flinch of the shoulder, Okung came out of his stance and set up to pass block noticeably earlier than every other O-lineman.

    The thing is, you see missed or bad calls in almost every game, every week and no official gets fired. Either Cruz was on “final written warning” or there’s more to his dismissal.

  38. computojon says:
    October 25, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    Makes you wonder if the official purposely didn’t call it due to team favoritism… that’d fully explain the quick firing.
    ————————————————————————————
    You’re assuming somebody actually likes and/or follows the Chargers, which we know doesn’t happen.

  39. The ref org should be glad they don’t have, and they should, a score sheet, if you decisions are over ruled often, off with your head.
    I say a lot of them don’t care on the scoring plays knowing it will be reviewed so why worry about getting it right.

  40. I agree. Officials should be full time employees of the NFL, just like coaches and players. They should have training camp in the summer, practice and watch film at least 4 days a week in season, and attend OTAs in the off season. After all, players and coaches do all of the above and they never make a mistake during a game…

  41. There are also replay officials who need to be fired, for example the ones who robbed Eric Reid of a game-clinching interception last week against the Eagles.

    Granted, I think it’s safe to say that no instant replay review involving Reid for the rest of his career is going to go in his favor.

  42. On the surface it looks to me like the NFL was looking for a scapegoat. Someone to sacrifice to the angry mob and who better than a referee? People are sick of the flags but the NFL has nobody to blame but themselves. Missed/Bad calls are going to happen but the league isn’t doing the ref’s or the fans any favors by enforcing unreasonably strict and ambiguous rules.

  43. cosmicconvoy says:

    Finally some appropriate action. It’s l-o-n-g overdue. Now PLEASE focus on the routine Patriot non-calls at Fauxboro!
    ————————————————————–
    How about actually watching a coupla Pats home games??? Only home cooking at Gillette is served up for the visiting team. On a platter. Patriots are coached to be a disciplined football team, whether home or away. Some other teams aren’t, and either play more aggressively because they’re behind or want to show they’re not intimidated.

  44. in Monday night football there was a false start by the rams that was not called and the rams quarterback scored a touchdown because of it

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