Retired NFL Ed Hochuli has been largely off the media grid since retiring. We all miss his well-defined arms and fans of longform miss his exposition while announcing penalties. He stopped by the Always Aggravated podcast this week, though, where he spoke, among other things, about the inherent violence of the game and the league’s attempt to legislate it toward a safer place, something that’s been bothersome to fans of the way things used to be.
Hochuli revealed he is all for the changes and opened up about routinely believing he’d witnessed fatalities on the football field.
“I’m sorry, but I completely disagree. We have absolutely not gone too far,” he said. “The players have gotten bigger — I go back, I started in 1990. They’ve gotten bigger and faster and stronger. I worked over 600 games in the NFL, and there wasn’t a single game right up to the very last one that there weren’t a half a dozen times in that game (where) I said, ‘Oh my god, how’s that guy gonna get up off the ground? He’s gotta be dead.’ And they hop up and they go back to the huddle. It’s a collision sport, and we’ve got to protect them. We’ve got to protect them.”
Believing the worst has happened after a particularly brutal hit happens to everyone watching the game. A player takes a shot to the head, lays motionless, and the pregnant pauses are immediately filled with dread. Is this the time? How can be possibly be okay?
Hearing that an official, one around the game for decades and charged with keeping order, had the same reaction week in and week out is startling. Seems like it would make a guy dread showing up to work on Sunday.