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NFL promotes 2 second-generation referees: Shawn Hochuli and Alex Kemp

Shawn Hochuli and Alex Kemp are new NFL referees for 2018, replacing the retired Ed Hochuli and Jeff Triplette.




Fathers have passed the NFL white hat to the sons, one directly and one posthumously.

As Football Zebras noted last month, Alex Kemp seemed to be the frontrunner to be promoted to referee upon the retirement of Jeff Triplette. We also noted that back judge Shawn Hochuli was in the mix, but only upon his father’s retirement, whenever that might be.

Today, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron announced that Ed Hochuli has retired and that Kemp and the younger Hochuli have, in fact, been promoted.

Shawn Hochuli

Shawn Hochuli (New York Jets)

Shawn Hochuli joined the NFL in 2014 as a back judge and wears number 83. Before coming to the NFL, Shawn was a back judge and referee in the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences. He also served as a referee in the Arena Football League. Hochuli officiated bowl games in college, but perhaps the biggest game he officiated was the 2013 USC-Notre Dame game, where he served as a referee. He’s worked NFL postseason games every year he’s been eligible. Shawn Hochuli auditioned for the NFL referee position during preseason games, and we have long speculated that he could become a referee once his dad retired. That day has come.

Alex Kemp

Alex Kemp (Arizona Cardinals)

Joining Hochuli in the 2018 NFL referee rookie class is Alex Kemp who wears number 55. Kemp has been a side judge since joining the NFL in 2014.  Kemp cut his teeth in the Big Ten conference for several seasons as a side judge and referee. Kemp worked several post-season games as a Big Ten side judge, including the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. Alex is the son of the late NFL side judge and referee, Stan Kemp. Kemp has worked two NFL postseason games in his career. Kemp has auditioned for referee during the preseason.

The NFL continues to interview potential officiating candidates for permanent openings and candidates for the Officiating Development Program. There is an expectation of imminent turnover in the officiating ranks as the offseason continues.

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"