After the jump is an email I sent off to Mr. Hochuli last night. I will certainly let you know what he says if he actually responds.
My name is David Saintsational and I am a New Orleans Saints season ticket holder and die-hard Saints fan. I also write and manage a popular New Orleans Saints fan website called CanalStreetChronicles.com.
I first want to express my sincere gratitude to you and every other NFL official. Yours is not an easy job and without the work that all of you do, football fans in America wouldn’t be able to enjoy to sport they hold so dearly. I know you and the league take officiating very seriously and discuss each game in-depth afterwards including what went right and what went wrong.
Like most fans in New Orleans this week, I am obviously disappointed with the officiating by you and your team during the Vikings/Saints game on October 6th, 2008. I am not writing to berate or belittle you as I‘m sure many others do. Also please know that while this letter is addressed to you, I put the blame on your entire team. I understand that throughout the course of a game some infractions get missed. Such is the nature of the game. However, this game appeared to have more than the usual incorrect and/or missed calls on the most obvious of plays. The blatant face mask penalty by Chad Greenway on Reggie Bush and subsequent turnover that went uncalled being the most egregious and game changing of them all. Can you offer any explanation for the peculiar officiating during this game?
I’m sure you know as well as anyone else that even one play can alter the ebb and flow of power and momentum between two football teams during the course of an NFL game and can be incredibly important to the final outcome. Too important to ever be decided simply by the judgment of a few individuals. The league has clearly acknowledged the importance of getting calls right by allowing video replay to make sure calls involving turnovers, out of bounds, touchdown rulings etc. are made correctly. As a fan who only wants to see the game of football continue to grow, improve and be as fair as possible to everyone involved, I wonder if a rules change should be in the leagues sights for the near future. Penalties that do or do not get called can affect a game as easily as any touchdown, field goal or first down. Therefore they should, at least in certain situations, be made reviewable. To be sure, making all infractions reviewable would be opening Pandora’s Box. Perhaps it could be limited just to facemask penalties? Maybe infractions that result in a turnover should only be allowed for review?
By no means am I an expert on the game of football. I am merely a fan. But the aforementioned replay rules change seems obvious and necessary but perhaps I am missing something. Seeing a clear violation of the rules before all of our eyes and not being able to do anything about it just doesn't sit right with me as it shouldn't sit right with you. Understandably, you are not the one who can make these changes. However, if you have any input with the league regarding rules changes this off-season, I ask that you please take my suggestions with a modicum of seriousness. It’s too late for the Saints but it might not be too late for another team.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I hope to hear from you in the near future.