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Championship liveblog: Patriots at Broncos


2015 AFC Championship

Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the Patriots-Broncos Conference Championship game from Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by Ed Hochuli.

Yrs 2015 crew College Occupation
R 85 Ed Hochuli 26 Texas-El Paso attorney
U 49 Rich Hall 12 Boger Arizona custom cabinetry
HL 28 Mark Hittner 19 Wrolstad Pittsburg State investment broker
LJ 101 Carl Johnson 12 Blakeman Nicholls State full-time official
FJ 109 Dyrol Prioleau 9 Triplette Johnson C Smith manager, law firm
SJ 56 Allen Baynes 8 Hussey Auburn realtor
BJ 112 Tony Steratore 16 Boger California (Pa.) co-owner, supply company


  • Replay official: Bob McGrath
  • Replay assistant: Brian Matoren
  • Alternates: John Parry (R), Mike Spanier (LJ), Jon Lucivansky (SJ)
  • Supervisor: Garth DeFelice
  • Observer: Al Riveron
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23 thoughts on “Championship liveblog: Patriots at Broncos

  1. Patriots are being screwed via holding/dpi not being called and the terrible call that that extended the Bronco drive.

  2. Was it Carl Johnson who blew the whistle on that reversed backwards pass? it was by his sideline. Regardless, he is an official who has no business working a playoff game. But the crew misses a backwards pass that happens right in front of the LJ and costs the Pats a challenge and a touchdown. I hope Belichick lit into Hochuli for having to waste a challenge.

    Really bad work by the crew and specifically I presume the LJ.

  3. Do y’all know that Carl Johnson is also the head of the local high school football association in his hometown in Louisiana? What y’all think about that?

  4. So once again helmet to helmet is a penalty except when Parry & Horton call a game.

  5. @Kefa…..Helmet to helmet is in the rule book but they hardly ever call it. Blatant on in the Cincinnati/Pittsburg game that started all of the chaos. NFL ruled it a legal hit.

  6. Receiver ducks his head to cause contact, and its a penalty of the defense – makes sense to me?

  7. Lets talk about “not effecting the game” non-calls by the officials. 2 plays in a row, Brady intentionally grounded the ball. The 2nd one wasn’t even close. Anything to give Tom one more chance, right?

  8. @bpm. i would stick to cleaning your room in your parents basement rather than making dumb comments on here.

    Having said that, its hilarious how many people think they know the rules to sports when they don’t know jack. Nice work by hochuli crew today overall.

  9. @official observer – I think that Carl Johnson is a nice fellow but a weak official.

    Denver did to New England today what the Patriots did to the Manning led Colts. Mugged every receiver every play… and got away with it most of the time. Karma.

  10. Please explain when a play ends. How far after whistle should broncoes rb fight for that ball? He clearly let up after whistle.

  11. @tbone- If you are referring to the backwards pass (or a fumble when whistle has blown) that is a great question. I know that they let the defensive team take possession but not advance the ball if they make a mistake. I thought it was an obvious backwards pass…But, I understand the point of how can you be expected to fight for a ball after whistle blows.

    Anyone hear know?

  12. So, please “RefFan”, show us your amazing wisdom on what constitutes “grounding” these days.It has nothing to do with a receiver being in the area, since none were in frame of the camera for the second one. I would mention the “tackle box” part, but he never appeared to go outside it. So why is it not grounding?

    Or were you responding to the holding comments? It wasn’t the inside holding that gets let go, Miller was outside and got his shoulders turned by the O-lineman. Or is the NFL now just like the NHL, where calls rarely happen in the last 20 minutes of a game?

    Nice little push by Gronk there on the last TD – but that wasn’t called last week, either

    Or are the non-calls ok, since the Broncos won anyway?

    But it was nice of you to get in your obligatory “nice job by the officials”. Most likely it would of been a better job by the officials if they were full-time rather then part-time.

  13. Got to say I thought the crew had a pretty darn good game all in all. Threw a few flags early and the game settled down and they let them play and only called clear fouls. Did we see one offensive line holding call today? I don’t recall one.

    All you want from a zebra call is not to effect the outcome and they didn’t. A good job all around for me.

  14. Only issues I saw in the game (I didn’t study it but had it on while in my pool) were an ILF on Denver punt in 1st half the right tackle was lined up in the backfield this has to be called when this egregious but was not; IC UNS early in game against NE which I don’t want to hear was a “game control” flag, it was bogus, incorrect call and as soon as they killed that backwards pass, I said oh no, just cost Pats a TD. Terrible mistake; good thing NE scored on the drive but just a terrible whistle by a non-focused official. The hit on Edelman in the second half was a correct call, but no doubt the official just guessed at it and hoped he got it right. The type of mistakes made in this game have no business being made at this level. Remember, they are “top tier.” ROTFLMAO. If this is the top tier, what is the bottom tier? No surprise, considering the crew. Not unexpected, but other than Ben and his minions, the rest of us see the problem with the poor quality of officiating in the league. This crew epitomizes the entire cause of the poor officiating. There are 3 incidents of nepotism on this crew. We have the old man who has a son (weak official at best but more arrogant than his dad if that is even possible) in the league; a deep wing (who has his brother working Super Bowl and their dad who was retired official then Director of Recruiting until removed from his position – hmm how did his sons get hired as it certainly had nothing to do with skill yet here they are) and the B who is one of 2 brothers, B is actually a good official but his brother is very weak. Yep – despite demonstrated flaws in hiring relatives, they keep hiring relatives. By the way, how about that huge gut on the Umpire? That was disgusting that a fat official that out of shape is on prime time. And his winter shirt was loose fitting and you could still see how fat he was.

  15. Welcome to the playoffs, where receivers get mugged and no one throws a flag. I’m happy for Peyton though. He got screwed by the same principle much of his career. He just happens to have a good defense now.

    I agree with other posters that it’s stupidity to allow a turnover after the whistle has blown.

  16. does anyone know why there were no intentional grounding calls on Brady,
    I saw an obvious 4 of them and possibly 6.
    Not a single one was called.

  17. jerryshop, they are very liberal about “receivers in the area”. If there’s an eligible receiver anywhere within ten feet, they aren’t going to call it.

  18. “reasonable expectation of a catch” really seems to just seems to mean:
    1) Did the ball get thrown downfield?
    2) Were there receivers running routes anywhere downfield?

    Heck, the last uncalled one dropped at least 5 yards from _anyone_..

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