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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Referees association says it stands by Hochuli after botched call

Associated Press

WYLIE, Texas -- Ed Hochuli received the support of the NFL Referees Association on Tuesday, two days after he botched a call at the end of the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos game that allowed the Broncos to keep possession and go on to score the winning points.

Ed Hochuli
The NFL will give longtime official Ed Hochuli lower grades after he admitted botching a call late in the Chargers-Broncos game.

"No one feels worse about this than Ed, but like the coaches and players in our high-speed game, mistakes will occur," NFLRA executive director Tim Millis said in a statement.

"The NFLRA stands by Ed Hochuli as a 19-year veteran with multiple Super Bowl and countless playoff game experience who has the integrity and character to admit a mistake and accept the criticism that comes with it."

The crucial call occurred with the Broncos at the Chargers 1-yard-line in the final minute. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler dropped back to pass, the ball slipped out of his hands, bounced off the grass and into the arms of Chargers linebacker Tim Dobbins.

Hochuli, a former NFLRA president, ruled it an incomplete pass. Replay ruled it a fumble, but it was spotted at the 10, where the ball hit the ground, and given to Denver because the rules did not permit possession to be awarded to San Diego because the whistle had blown.

Denver went on to score a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to win 39-38.