They’re back! Big win for referees over NFL owners as lockout ends
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org September 27, 2012 7:04AM
Updated: September 27, 2012 6:32PM
Celebrate, all you NFL fans!
Soon we’ll get to see Ed “Hercules” Hochuli and his massive biceps signaling touchdowns and timeouts once again.
Only this time the veteran NFL ref with the muscle-bound upper torso should start each game by signaling a Village People-style “V” over his head, signifying the referees union’s big win over the NFL owners.
Yes, folks, late Wednesday night NFL management came to an agreement in principle for a new contract with the old refs, ending a season-long lockout that saw naïve hacks and frauds pretending to be real NFL officials, butchering the game.
It’s almost certain the veteran refs will be back for the weekend games and, yes—stadium horns here!—for the Bears-Cowboys Game on Monday night in Dallas.
All it took to settle the lockout was that televised clown show that occurred Monday night in Seattle, with the Packers getting robbed of a win over the Seahawks by a ref who, according to his own advisor, wasn’t even qualified for high-level college officiating. (Nor will we mention again the rejects from the Lingerie Football League who found work as scab NFL refs.)
The issues for the real refs were those of paychecks, naturally, but also security as well as concerns about their annuity-based pensions being turned into volatile 401ks. The NFL has never thought enough of the refs to make them full-time employees, so it never thought enough of them to be generous, either.
It’s odd in such a big business, but NFL refs are moonlighters. Our sleeve-busting pal Hochuli, for instance, is a trial lawyer and a partner in the Arizona law firm of Jones, Skelton and Hochuli. (Ever wonder why he’s so convincing on the field mic?)
Whatever the NFL’s distaste for conceding to a union, the pie-throwng event in Seattle made it irrelevant. Let the guys with red Ping-Pong ball noses and floppy shoes continue one more week and there might have been blood—and not players’ blood-- in the circus tent.
So the real guys are back, and we can all relax, have a beer and boo them just like in the old days. Because, remember, even good refs are bad refs.
Which reminds me that veteran muscleman Hochuli has reffed two games in which he made majorly bad calls and both benefitted our blank-faced quarterback, Jay Cutler.
In the first, a 2008 Broncos-Chargers game, Hochuli blew his whistle early, saying then-Denver quarterback Cutler’s obvious fumble was an incomplete pass. That wrong call changed the game. In 2010 at Detroit’s Ford Field, Hochuli flagged Lions’ defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh for hitting Cutler too hard in the back, allegedly with his forearm (which he did not), and the call enabled the Bears to score the winning touchdown on the next play.
Perfect the old guys are not.
But at least they’re back. And now we can just hate the coaches.