In it, Hochuli talks openly about his obsession to always make the right call...
"I've been officiating 35 some years," Hochuli says. "Every time I throw the flag, the player disagrees."
His job is to forget, to move on. He can't. Hochuli remembers a time when he called a facemask on a defender and the player appealed to him immediately. "I got his shoulder!" he said. "I swear to you, Ed!" Hochuli realized he wasn't sure. He picked up the flag. He thinks about that play often.
That was more than 10 years ago.He famously regrets the Jay Cutler non-fumble call in the Charger-Bronco game, even though I think most neutral fans see that one as far less sinister than the infamous "tuck rule" call in New England.
Ed even e-mailed BACK to many irate and perhaps insane Charger fans afterward, explaining the mistake, and offering an apology.
So when it comes to the current referee lockout, Ed won't jump into the fray publicly - he's too smart, and a lawyer, so he understands the sensitivity of negotiations - but he does chafe at the idiot's notion that he's a "part time" referee.
"The full-time referee thing is funny to me," he says. "I am a full-time referee. Everything the NFL asks me to do, I do. Got a game in San Diego, they send me the assignment, and I go. Many times I have gotten out of trials because of games. I know about them in advance. I tell the judge and the lawyer way in advance."
Hochuli feels that after 20 years as an NFL referee (including serving as crew chief for two Super Bowls), the "part-time" label should go. Yes, the games are only three hours, but the time he spends on the craft, between studying, traveling, preparation and review, is beyond 40 per week. But he knows by now that refs are never fully appreciated. They don't win games for you in the minds of fans; they only cost you games.
But that was before the specter of replacement refs costing games, which seems much worse.And yeah, the regular season is going to be a GOAT-SCREW of the highest order. We have been given a taste in the pre-season of just what happens when beer league zebras try to officiate the world's most violent, fast moving, most-players-on-the-field-at-once (with soccer) sports.
It's a disaster. Now throw actual PRESSURE on these guys to NOT SCREW UP into the mix, and just sit back and take a zoloft to keep from smashing your remote control.
But back to Hochuli. The same guy who the NFL thinks is easily replaceable, actually WROTE a supplemental guide for NFL refs on how to mark off certain penalties.
The book is called "The Hopperbook" and it is dense enough with if's, and's, and but's to make your head hurt. Here's an example...
So yeah, off we go into the regular season, while Ed focuses on his law practice and buffing up those guns.
It's a damn shame, but hopefully, the league gets it's pants pulled down and spanked hard by karma, and they never, ever, ever think about doing this again.