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Shawn Hochuli promoted to NFL


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.

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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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12 thoughts on “Shawn Hochuli promoted to NFL

  1. I had the pleasure of working with you in a Foothill Citrus Football Association high school game several years ago. Congratulations on moving up to the NFL

  2. Congrats! I Know the NFL is getting a great official.Shawn has worked hard and deserves to be there,I have worked HS football with him,and will always remember those days.A class act,and wish him the best.

  3. Tweet has NOT been deleted. 19 year old daughter was just unnerved that she was being stalked on social media to get information about her grandfather and uncle. She has not protected her tweets and blocked Becky Parker and football zebras. Hope you are proud of yourself for taking advantage of a kid.

  4. I would like to at least to be cited for the tweet or given credit. Becky is not responsible for anything that goes on in my family. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for reaching out, and I appreciate your wishes. I can certainly make good on your request.

    To the story and our reporting methods:

    We had a lot of internal discussions on how to handle the story. We considered ignoring the tip we received, but we soon realized that, by doing so, someone else would have eventually picked up on the story. That is the nature of social media. After we received the tip, we searched within Twitter for “hochuli nfl”, and the tweet in question popped up. We expected this was about to proliferate fairly quickly, anyway, and, after a long discussion, I made an editorial decision to move forward with the article.

    The person who tipped Football Zebras is a reader of the site and is not affiliated with us. We do not monitor or follow any accounts of the family, with the exception of Shawn Hochuli’s account (as did many in the officiating community), an account he never tweeted to and is now deleted.

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