According to the league, Shawn Hochuli has been assigned to call the Lions vs. Raiders game this weekend, and it will be the first time he has worked a game for either team this season. Hochuli does have experience calling games with each team in the past, however. In 2018, he called two games for the Lions and two for the Raiders.
Hochuli’s appointment to the game comes at a time where Lions fans are constantly watching to see who is officiating their game given the troubles they have had this year with close calls and referees.
Shawn Hochuli’s History
Taking over for his very notable father Ed, Hochuli joined the NFL as a referee in 2018. Prior to that, he had been a back judge and a side judge in the league. From there, one of the first games that he ever called was a Lions game against the San Francisco 49ers. That day, Hochuli made a close call late which cost the Lions a shot at winning when he threw a borderline flag for defensive holding on Quandre Diggs, which nullified an interception by safety Tracy Walker.
Other than this game, Hochuli doesn’t have a long track record as an NFL official, having only worked for one full season. In Detroit’s two games with Hochuli last year, a total of 34 penalties were called, which is on the moderate side. This season, Hochuli has thrown 99 total flags, which is a fairly average total.
Matt Patricia Praises Raiders
In terms of the actual matchup on the field this week, the Lions boss had plenty of good things to say about the Raiders this week when talking about the matchup, and admitted that while he doesn’t know the Raiders well, he’s seen enough to understand what they represent.
“This is a team we don’t know very well. I think they’re well coached, I think they’ve gotten a lot better,” Patricia said to the media. “Obviously we had a great opportunity to practice against them last year, that was good experience for us to be able to go out there and they were tremendous to us and hosted us while we were out there for the week.”
Specifically, Patricia credited Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock for how they have constructed the Raiders roster and how they are putting together and coaching the team through the 2019 year.
“Coach Gruden’s doing a great job, Mike Mayock, putting a team together that’s got a good combination of young, very talented, explosive players combined with some veterans that are some pretty savvy vets that are experienced in the NFL and bringing these guys along at a high level,” Patricia said when breaking down the Raiders roster.
Patricia, as a result, knows the challenge he and his team will be facing well, and understands a crisp week of practice is the only way to achieve the desired result on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a really tough team, they do some things really well and we know we’re going to have some problems with them this weekend. So we need a good week of preparation,” Patricia said. “We got a big challenge ahead of us this week, that’s kind of where our focus is right now.”
We’ll see how big a deal Hochuli plays in the outcome of this game when all is said and done.