Shawn Hochuli became an NFL referee in 2018, the same year his father left the profession. And the younger Hochuli didn’t hesitate to flex his flag-throwing muscles.
In fact, according to Rick Gosselin of Talk of Fame Network, Hochuli and his crew set an NFL single-season record by assessing 253 penalties for 2,164 yards.
Another first-year referee, Shawn Smith, led the crew that finished second in penalties. Smith’s crew flagged 228 penalties in the 2018 season.
That two first-year referees led the two crews that threw the most flags could be an indication that newer referees are stricter about calling everything to the letter of the rule, and that the more experienced referees are more likely to let a few things go. It bears watching whether the officiating crews headed by Smith and Hochuli continue to throw more flags in 2019.