Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Confession and Reputation
Do you know this fellow? His name is Ed Hochuli. You can probably guess that he is a referee for the NFL by his uniform. Before I tell you a story about him, let me tell you what I've learned about the NFL referees. Some of you may already know this but it was a revelation to me. Of course if I had thought much about it I would have guessed.
After each NFL game each week, about 8 hours is spent on each game analyzing each referee's calls. They are given a score for each call and an overall score for the year. Only the refs with the highest scores are invited to ref the post season playoff games. Those refs with consistently low scores are soon let go if they don't improve. Ed has always been one of the highest scoring refs. I didn't realize that the NFL invested so much time in the refs' calls. This makes sense because a team could make a lot of money going to the playoffs and then winning the Super Bowl. A ref's calls in September will affect who goes to the Super Bowl in February.
Last September when the Denver Broncos were playing the San Diego Chargers, Ed was one of the refs. Near the end of the game the Denver quarterback went back for a pass and fumbled the ball. Ed blew his whistle and called it an incomplete pass, allowing Denver to keep the ball. Denver went on to score and win the game. Ed knew immediately after his call that he was wrong. He even went over to the San Diego coach and admitted it. However, in spite of his apology it was not a reviewable call and couldn't be changed. The San Diego fans were not happy.
The fans flooded Ed's office with angry phone calls and emails. They wanted him fired. Ed began to respond to the emails, one by one, apologizing for his bad call. Word got around and then his office was flooded by even more calls and emails (over 20,000) thanking him for admitting his mistake. Credibility is gained when we admit our mistakes and not cover them up. What a story!