Ed Hochuli may be in the midst of the worst single season in the history of officiating. Already, he has:
1) inadvertently blew dead a Jay Cutler fumble that led to a Denver Bronco victory
2) cried the week after the incident
3) screwed up a fumble in the Saints-Vikings game, as the Vikings were pulling on Bush's facemask.
However, while Ed Hochuli has already inadvertently changed the outcome of at least one game (and perhaps two), this still does not come close to the problems of Jeff Triplette.
First off, Jeff Triplette is apparently leading the league in penalties and penalty yards, according to one blog source. He does not want you to enjoy the game! He does not just affect the game, he affects each fan's enjoyment of the game and... he changes LIVES!
1) Not only does he anger fans, a 2008 ESPN poll (I know, it's not scientific), claims that Jeff Triplette had the 2nd most amount of votes for "Worst Referee" by NFL coaches.
2) Not only does he anger people in reality, The Onion made up a story of the "Worst-Ever Blown Calls," where Jeff Triplette rips off his underpants by accident. The Onion stated that "Thinking that he's pulling the flag from his back pocket, Jeff Triplette rips out his underpants and throws them at Chad Johnson for celebrating in the end zone." Even in fiction, Jeff Triplette is a disaster.
3) He threw a flag at OT Orlando Brown's eye in 1999... ending his season and preventing him from playing until 2003 due to the damage in his eye.
4) He threw a flag at Jags CB Aaron Beasley's head in 2000.
5) Got faked out by Peyton Manning in 2001 pretending to spike the ball, so he blew the play dead preventing a 35-yard TD run by Manning.
6) In 2006, the Titans thought they recovered a fumble when Tony Brown stripped Mike Anderson. Officials called Anderson down by contact even though defensive tackle Robaire Smith had the ball. Fisher challenged, and referee Jeff Triplette upheld the ruling even though the replay clearly showed the ball coming out. Triplette said there was a fumble but “no clear recovery.”
7) In 2006, Triplette granted a timeout to the Lions... despite the Lions not having any timeouts!
8) John Madden said that weird things happen when Jeff Triplette is calling the game!
I do have to send my apologies to Jeff Triplette though... he was not the referee at the Browns-Jacksonville bottle-throwing game. It was actually Terry McAulay. Even w/o that incident on Triplette's resume, Triplette still takes the cake, wins the debate, and is clearly the worst referee, or at least worse than Ed Hochuli!
Manwich Matchup of the Week
New England @ San Diego- This game only merits "Manwich" status in that both teams WERE supposed to be leading AFC contenders. Now, everyone in America has doubts about these two teams. Can New England play defense or offense? Why did San Diego score lots of points the first 3 games, but almost no points the last 2 weeks? Why did both of these teams lose to the Dolphins the last weeks? I'm not sure which questions will be answered, but at least we'll know who's in worse shape after this week.
Pick: San Diego
Upset of the Week
Miami @ Houston - Why are the Dolphins 3 point road underdogs to the winless Texans? For those who don't know, the Dolphins have been running the "Wildcat" offense, where they do various trick plays like snapping it directly to Ronnie Brown while Ricky Williams is also in the backfield. Apparently, the Miami offensive coordinator used this last season at Arkansas with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Suddenly, "Wildcat" has become my new favorite word of the week that I will over-use, which is even better than over-using the word "Maverick."
Chicago @ Atlanta- This game may actually be the most intriguing of the week. The Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers last week! The Falcons are actually 3-2, and now with their "quality win" last week, I suppose we have to take them seriously to some degree. The Bears have beaten the Colts and the Eagles. Interestingly, both teams lost to CAR and Tampa, but while the Bears lost close games, the Falcons lost both games by 24-9 scores. Thus, using the transitive property, the Bears should win.
Baltimore @ Indy- The Colts may be shaky, but they should put up enough points to outlast the Cobra.
Detroit @ Minnesota- Detroit is in a lot of trouble.
Oakland @ New Orleans- The Saints better come out strong so they can pick up a needed win.
Pick: New Orleans
Cincy @ Jets- Perhaps this is the game when the Bungals break through? Probably not.
CAR @ Tampa- I also considered this game for my "Manwich." The divisional lead is on the line in this game. CAR seems to have more weapons and less question marks at QB.
St. Louis @ Washington- Seriously?
Jacksonville @ Denver- This should be an interesting game to gauge how bad the Denver defense really is. The Jags defense has been very sub-par this season.
Dallas @ Arizona- The NFC East is still trying to go 32-0 versus the AFC North and the AFC West.
Philly @ San Fran- The NFC East is still trying to go 32-0 versus the AFC North and the AFC West.
Green Bay @ Seattle- Both of these teams should be feeling pretty desperate right about now. Holmgren may already be dreaming of retirement at season's end at this point.
Pick: Green Bay
Giants @ Cleveland- The NFC East is still trying to go 32-0 versus the AFC North and the AFC West.
Last Week: 7-7 (this is really getting awful)
Season: 42-32 (56.7% is below the Theismann line of stupidity)
Manwich: 2-3 (Washington just surprised me again)
Upset of the Week: 1-4 (Picking San Fran over New England after New England's bye week was dumb)