Week 13: Bears at Lions
As a follow-up to the Ndamukong Suh penalty, referee Ed Hochuli (whose weekday and offseason job is a trial lawyer) explained his call following Sunday’s game, as he saw it:
Q: The personal foul on Suh, exactly what did you call and why?
Hochuli: I felt it was an unnecessary non-football act—a blow to the back of the runner’s helmet in the process of him going down.
Q: Did it have anything to do with the fact he was a quarterback?
Hochuli: Well, the quarterbacks receive more protection, but in that situation, no. In that situation, it was I felt an unnecessary blow, a non-football act as the runner was going to the ground.
Q: If the contact had been in the shoulder or not in the head, would it still have been a penalty?
Hochuli: I really would have to see it. I can’t speculate on something else that I didn’t see. But as I saw it, he hit him in the back of the helmet.
Q: Can you describe why that it is an unnecessary [act]?
Hochuli: When you tackle people, you come in, and you wrap up and come with your arms and things like that. I felt he delivered a blow to the back [of the] runner that happened to be the quarterback. That is why I was down there following it. He’s my responsibility.
As reported in the Detroit Free-Press, Suh had a very responsible answer to the controversy, especially considering Suh is a rookie:
I don’t judge calls. It’s not my job. My job is to go out there and play, get the ball out. It was a great opportunity to attack the ball. It just happened. Whatever. I was going for the ball, so that’s all that matters.