Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In a Runaway ...

2008 Bad Call Man of the Year!

Mr. Edward Hochuli

Click here for the first, but certainly not the least, of his beauties from 2008.

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

Hochuli ruled it an incomplete pass. Replay ruled it a fumble, but it was spotted at the 10-yard line, 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.

From the Washington Post:

'Hochuli Rule' Approved (it's never a good thing to have a rule named after you, Ed)

DANA POINT, Calif.--The NFL's team owners voted today to expand the scope of plays subject to instant replay review, including making one modification that would have remedied this past season's notorious officiating gaffe by referee Ed Hochuli.

Hochuli erroneously called a fumble by Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler in the late stages of an early-season game an incomplete pass, negating a game-saving fumble recovery by the San Diego Chargers. Because the call could not be overturned via a replay review, the Broncos retained possession of the ball and went on to score a touchdown and a game-winning two-point conversion.

The owners voted today to make such a play subject to a replay review. Under the new rule, the defensive team can be awarded possession of the ball if it made a recovery and the review shows the play to have been a fumble rather than an incomplete pass.

The rule was proposed by the NFL's competition committee and approved by the owners today. It goes into effect next season.

The owners also voted to make a call of a loose ball being out of bounds before it's recovered subject to replay review. That stemmed from a botched call of a kickoff being out of bounds, when actually it wasn't, during the NFC title game.

Another change was approved to modify the system by which the draft order is determined. The 12 teams that reach the playoffs now will automatically have the 12 lowest draft spots. That wasn't necessarily the case before, since the draft order had been based strictly on regular season records (although the two Super Bowl teams did have the two lowest draft spots). That goes into effect next year.

A team no longer gets a second chance at an onside kick at any point during a game. That previously had applied only to the final five minutes of a game.

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