Hochuli Gaffe Under Review by NFL

Rule that cost the Chargers a game may get changed

By Derek Togerson
|  Thursday, Mar 19, 2009  |  Updated 9:14 AM PDT
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Hochuli Gaffe Under Review by NFL

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Referee Ed Hochuli's mistake during a Chargers - Broncos game might spark an NFL rule change.

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It was one of the biggest refereeing blunders in NFL history. Now the league is taking steps to make sure it never happens again. 

The NFL is looking into changing instant replay rules in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the blown call by referee Ed Hochuli that helped cost San Diego a game last season.

You probably remember the play. In the second game of the season, Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler had the ball slip out of his hand, it was recovered by Tim Dobbins and the Chargers thought they had a win.

But Hochuli blew the whistle when he saw the ball come loose, ending the play too soon. And after looking at replays, Hochuli, who is one of the better referees in football, admitted that he blew the call and apologized for his mistake.

The competition committee will propose that when the ball comes loose when a quarterback is throwing, replay can be used to determine if it is a fumble or an incomplete pass, regardless of whether or not the whistle was blown. Had that rule been in place last September, there is no doubt the Chargers would have won that game.

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