Leave Ed Hochuli Aloooone

Look, I’m a big critic of refs/umps, but the criticisms of Ed Hochuli of late are going a bit far.

The guy admittedly blew the San Diego call. There’s no denying that, and Hochuli manned up and took responsibility. You can’t go back and replay those critical moments of the game…it’ll go down forever as a massive mistake. But now, everyone seems to be piling on the once-proud ref after every missed call. That, my friends, is not fair. Each missed penalty is not because Hochuli has lost a step over the past few games. That San Diego call didn’t shape his future.

Those of us who call ourselves Steelers fans know all too well about blown calls. Hell, I fully expect an official referee apology every offseason, because it seems like the calls we complain about are understandably not in our favor during the season. The Polamalu interception in the Colts playoff game the year we won the Super Bowl? The blown holding call on David Garrard’s million yard scramble on 4th down to win last year’s playoff game? One of the calls changed the outcome of the game, the outcome of the season, the other didn’t. We got public apologies on both.

Even this year. Gene Steratore and Ron Winters, in successive weeks, called questionable roughing penalties on LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison respectively when both OLBs hit Joe Flacco and Garrard as they released the ball. Harrison openly criticized Winters after the Jags game and was fined for it. However, you’d be hard pressed to find a Steelers fan who will fervently watch each future game called by either ref, waiting for them to mess up again so we can post their email addresses and let the uninformed masses have at them.

I don’t even like the fact that I had to bring up the Woodley and Harrison (Wooderson for short, all right all right all right) calls because it might come off as complaining. I’m always focused on the next game, but the bye week allows me to reminisce on how we’ve been wronged, and how it isn’t right to hate on the ref forever. So let me have this one moment.

Before this season, Hochuli was the model of muscle-bound consistency. Now, everyone wants to over-analyze each call he makes or misses. That’s weak.

Leave the guy alone and let him focus on the game, will ya?

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