Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Updated: September 18, 12:52 PM ET
Hochuli apologizes to fans for blown call in Chargers-Broncos game
ESPN.com news services
Ed Hochuli threw a flag on himself.
After blowing a call that helped the Denver Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, the referee admitted he made a mistake on Wednesday and is answering e-mails from some fans telling them that, according to multiple media reports.
The NFL will give longtime official Ed Hochuli lower grades after he admitted botching a call late in the Chargers-Broncos game.
"I'm getting hundreds of e-mails -- hate mail -- but I'm responding to it all," Hochuli wrote to several Chargers fans, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. "People deserve a response. You can rest assured that nothing anyone can say can make me feel worse than I already feel about my mistake on the fumble play. You have no idea Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection -- I failed miserably. Although it does no good to say it, I am very, very sorry."
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.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.