NFL Referee Shawn Hochuli Saved Aaron Rodgers From Making a Huge Mistake and Gifted the Packers a Touchdown

Aaron Rodgers got himself in a bit of a pickle in the second half of the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11. He was about to call a timeout on a big drive, but referee Shawn Hochuli didn’t award it to him.

The play ended up working out well for Rodgers, and he shouted out Hochuli for his good call in an interview following the game. This brought more attention to the referee whose name should already be familiar to NFL fans, thanks to his well-known dad.

One of the biggest plays of Week 11’s Vikings vs. Packers game was a play that almost didn’t happen

(L-R) Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Referee Shawn Hochuli in the second quarter of an AFC West matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs on Sep 26, 2021 at GEHA Filed at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO.
(L-R) Aaron Rodgers, Shawn Hochuli | Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images; Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

The Week 11 Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game was an exciting back-and-forth affair. While the Vikings ultimately prevailed 34-31, Green Bay was in it against its bitter NFC North rivals right until Greg Joseph’s field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired.

This might not have been the case if Aaron Rodgers got the timeout he called for in the third quarter.

With the score 23-17 Vikings, Rodgers and the Packers faced a 3rd-and-6 from the Minnesota 18-yard line. As the play clock ticked down to three seconds, Rodgers — waiting for the snap in shotgun — quickly motioned for a timeout.

However, at the exact same time, Packers center Lucas Patrick snapped the ball back to Rodgers.

As the QB told talk show host Pat McAfee on Tuesday, his immediate response was, “Oh, s***!” The next response, though, was firing a touchdown pass to a wide-open Davante Adams streaking down the left side.

The play that might not have ever happened ended up tying the game at 23 and, with the extra point, gave the Packers a 24-23 lead, their first since they were up 3-0 early in the game.

Aaron Rodgers said referee Shawn Hochuli made the right call on the play

Aaron Rodgers discussed the touchdown play during his weekly visit to the Pat McAfee Show.

The Green Bay Packers signal-caller talked about how important the play was in the game and how after starting deep in his own territory, he knew the Packers needed to score to keep the game close.

“I gave a long silent cadence in the huddle,” he told McAfee and co-host and former Packers teammate A.J. Hawk. “As we broke the huddle, Lucas [Patrick] goes, ’15,’ meaning 15 on the play clock. And I said, ‘Yeah, we’re fine. We’re fine.’ Because in my mind, I was gonna see if they’d jump on the first two.”

Rodgers went on to give a detailed explanation of the defense the Vikings were in and the protection he had called. Then, getting back to his story, he said:

I was thinking about calling a timeout. Now, because of the timing of my leg kick and the snap, Shawn Hochuli — the referee — rightly allowed the play to go. I’m happy about it now because the way it turned out.

Aaron Rodgers on Shawn Hochuli

Rodgers emphasized that now he’s happy he didn’t get the time out, seeming to suggest that if the play had gone another way, he wouldn’t have been thrilled about not getting the call even if he admits Hochuli got it correct.

While Hochuli and his crew call the most penalties in the league and just presided over a Thanksgiving flag-fest in Dallas, the ref is best known for his famous father rather than his own on-field exploits.

The Hochuli name should sound familiar to longtime NFL fans

Few NFL referees are household names to football fans, but Ed Hochuli, the father of Shawn Hochuli, is one of them.

The longtime NFL zebra is known for showing off his bulging biceps in a tight-sleeved referee’s uniform, looking more like a football player than an official. In addition to his impressive fitness, fans know Ed because the NFL put the well-respected official in lots of big games throughout his 27-year career, including two Super Bowls, per Bleacher Report.  

The same year Ed retired, the NFL promoted his son Shawn to a referee position. The younger Hochuli, who works as an LPL Wealth Advisor at IWM Partners in his off time, according to his LinkedIn page, started in the NFL as a back judge in 2014.

Prior to following in his dad’s NFL footsteps, Shawn was a back judge for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and Big 12 before becoming a referee in the Arena Football League and then the Pac-12.

If Shawn keeps throwing flags at the same rate and getting shouted out on talk shows like he did from Aaron Rodgers, he’ll soon be a household name for NFL fans, just like his father.

Although, for NFL referees, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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