Football Zebras exclusive
The news is not confirmed, but a tweet by a relative of Shawn Hochuli — son of NFL referee Ed Hochuli — indicates that Shawn received word that he has been hired by the NFL. (Update 3/22: The tweet has since been protected. Update 3/24: Peter King of MMQB/SI confirmed the news.)
This is not entirely a surprise, as Shawn Hochuli worked in the NFL officiating advanced training program last preseason, and even got to work a game with his father last August. Even though an over-exuberant family member (allegedly) spilled the beans earlier than the league would have wanted, it would not have been secret for long, despite everyone’s best efforts. She cannot be blamed, as this is exciting news (allegedly). It’s out in the public sphere now, which is the new reality of life with social media.
Shawn Hochuli is a longtime back judge and has worked the past two seasons as a head referee in the Pacific 12 Conference. He also officiated games in NFL Europe before it folded in 2007.
Hochuli is entering the league at a time when many in the referee position have been in the league for 20-plus seasons. The NFL does not hire college officials directly into the referee position; in his father’s case, Ed worked two seasons as a deep official in the NFL and was promoted to referee in 1992. The elder Hochuli is entering his 25th season, so in a matter of a few years, Shawn may take the white hat of his father.
There are no vacancies that Football Zebras is aware of at back judge, so the junior Hochuli will either move to one of the deep wing positions, or one of the current back judges will move to bring him in at back judge.