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.