Ed Hochuli is one of the few NFL referees who even casual fans know by name--and if you don't know him by name, you almost certainly would recognize him: he's the referee with the legendary "guns" for arms who is able to give the most precise and accurate explanations for even the strangest plays; the "guns" can perhaps be explained by the fact that the 6-1, 215-pound Hochuli played linebacker at UTEP, while his way with words probably stems from his training as a lawyer.
Hochuli reached a new level during Sunday's Atlanta-Seattle game. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fumbled and then general chaos ensued, leaving everyone in the stadium wondering who should get the ball and where it should be spotted. If Bud Selig had been the referee, he would have shrugged and declared the game a tie. Fortunately, Hochuli stepped to the mike and restored order with this explanation:
"The ball was initially recovered by Atlanta and it was fumbled again. It was never regained by anyone. Therefore, it's Atlanta's ball--however, it was a fumble forwards that went out of bounds; therefore by rule it returns to the spot of Atlanta's fumble. It's Atlanta's ball there, first down." Of course, Hochuli punctuated this statement by signaling first down with one of his massive "guns." If there has been a better NFL refereeing moment--other than Ben Dreith's legendary "giving him the business down there" call--I haven't seen it.