As Hank Williams Jr. might say, Are you ready for some unionized officiating? On Wednesday night, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association reached a tentative agreement that would resolve the labor dispute that prompted the league to lock out its regular field officials and use replacements. After three weeks of regular season games, that spat has translated into a complete debacle, as the league's replacement officials have made a series of highly questionable — and just plain wrong — calls that have left teams and fans in an uproar. Most notable among them was the fiasco that was the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. The resolution means the return of competent officiating, as well as the guns of Ed Hochuli, who at 61, is the most jacked referee in the NFL:
Under the agreement, game officials' compensation would rise from the 2011 average of $149,000 per year to $173,000 in 2013. The average compensation would increase to $205,000 by 2019. Retirement benefits — the main sticking point in the dispute — would be given to new hires and all officials starting in 2017. The league would make a yearly contribution for every official in the amount of $18,000, to increase to $23,000 by 2019, and the NFL would also be required to at least partially match contributions that officials make to their 401(k)s
A trial lawyer during the offseason with his law firm Jones, Skelton, and Hochuli, he told NFL Network's Jeff Darlington that as soon as he got word of the end of the labor dispute, he started doing push-ups.
In addition to his massive pipes, Hochuli is also known for his on-field soliloquies in which he gives intricate and lengthy explanations of calls his crew has made:
Is that an explanation of a call or Shakespeare in the park?
I kid. It's good to have Ed and the rest of the professionals back.