Referee Ed Hochuli Explains A False Start Penalty

10.22.08 9 years ago 14 Comments

Before the snap, I was born a very large baby. My birth weight was 15 lbs, 7 oz., so I could not fit through my mother’s birth canal. I was thus delivered via Caesarian section. I had a very happy childhood. That is, until my mother discovered the bottle. My dad worked two jobs, so it must have been hard for her, all alone with the kids. I had six brothers, one of whom died of consumption. I think that drove her to drink.

She used to hide the vodka everywhere: in the cabinet, in the hamper, in the toilet tank. Often she’d rake her nails across my father’s face when he came home. Oh, how she could be so cruel sometimes.

I suppose it was around age 7 when I realized what I wanted to do with my life. It was during recess. Mickey Franklin had just gotten into a fight Joey McConklin after a heated tetherball match. And I remember seeing all these kids getting excited about the fight, egging the kids on. But I felt quite the opposite. Because my life at home was so unstable, because my mother loved that bottle more than she loved us, I had a fierce urge to protect the stability of any situation. It was all I had to hold on to.

I soon found myself breaking up the fight, and calmly explaining to each participant that Mickey’s ball, indeed, had never cleanly touched the pole. The two then held a quick rematch, with very little acrimony.

And that was it, really.

I felt an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment at having brought order out of a chaotic situation, so I suppose that’s how I ended up so drawn to refereeing. I like order. And stability. That’s why I work out, so I know I have the physical ability to preserve order in a heated situation. I like knowing I’ve done everything I can to exert firm control over the situation.

I suppose that’s also why my first wife left me, now that I think about it. Sometimes I just didn’t give her the space she needed. She felt smothered. Overprotected. God, I miss her. She was my butterfly.

Which brings us today.


Before the snap, #68 bobbed his head a very small amount. Now, normally this would be acceptable, if he had not been in a set position. But the player had his hand down, and Rule 132, Subset B, Section 98 of the NFL rulebook clearly states that having your hand down on the turf means you are in a set position. Is there someone out there who I can demonstrate this on?

/brings out fan

You see how my hand is on the turf here? That means I’m set. Okay, thank you. You can go.

Now, let’s say his hand wasn’t on the turf. Well then, he would not have technically been in the set position. He could have done anything: bobbed his head, scratched his butt, maybe adjust his girdle. That would have all been fine.

But he was in a set position already, so by rule, he is not allowed to move or fidget. I remember being in a similar situation with a Hungarian prostitute not long ago. She was very strong, vaginally. I mean, she had this incredibly STRONG pussy. Could strangle an eel with it. So she wanted to do these advanced kegel exercises on me, but I had to hold perfectly still to feel them. I had to be in the set position, as it were.

But I fidgeted, so she penalized me by lashing me with my own belt.

This play was very similar to that instance.

Because #68 bobbed his head before the snap, that is by rule a false start. The offense will be penalized 5 yards on the play. Which means we will move the ball five yards back from the original line of scrimmage. This also means the play before was whistled dead. So the catch by #81 does not count. Even had the penalty NOT occurred, the receiver’s foot was so close to the line of scrimmage that replay would not have been able to determine where his foot was in relation to the sideline.

Because he wore white shoes, you see.

We will enforce this false start penalty now. On this play. Right now. At this moment. If the timekeeper could reset the play clock to 30 seconds, the game clock to 5:34, and the actual clock to 4:56AM, we can continue with the game.

Right after I tell you about why I love fishing…

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