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Friday, September 19, 2008
Should Hochuli have been suspended?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Like many of you, I've been fascinated and somewhat troubled with the fallout from referee Ed Hochuli's egregious mistake at the end of Sunday's Broncos-Chargers game. With a rare Sunday at home, I happened to be watching the final 10 minutes of the game.

I've watched Hochuli officiate dozens of games over the years, and I've always thought he did an excellent job. You have to love how he and Mike Carey are so precise in explaining calls. The Hochuli first-down signal and his short-sleeved shirts in 30-degree weather make him the most recognizable official in the game.

On Sunday, though, one of the best officials in the game made a mistake that decided a football game. The immediate response from some of my friends in the business was that Hochuli should be suspended for at least a game. This would show "transparency" on the league's part.

Oh really? With so many close games, is it wise to sit down one of the league's most respected (and best) officials? I don't think so. I don't recall the league suspending a certain coach who was caught cheating last fall. But some people think Hochuli should be suspended for making a human error. Transparency? Give me a break.

I'm thinking a week off would only make Hochuli feel more miserable about what happened. And it would be window dressing from the league. In the moments after the botched call, Hochuli didn't hide from his mistake. He stood in front of 80,000 jubilant fans and one irate coach and basically said, "I screwed up royally."

Don't you know that Hochuli had to be praying that Mike Shanahan's questionable decision to go for two at the end of the game backfired. Well, it didn't, and Hochuli is forced to live with the consequences of making an awful mistake.

In my mind, that's enough punishment to last him a lifetime. Now, I'm anxious to hear what you think.