NFL referees usually get called out for what they did wrong, but the league on Wednesday recognized one of its officials for doing the right thing.
Referee Ed Hochuli's actions in last month's Bills-Jets game were identified as an example of proactive monitoring for concussions by an official in a joint statement from the NFL and NFLPA about protocol enhancements.
Hochuli was cited for directing Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the sideline after he took a helmet-to-helmet hit and appeared to be off-center. Taylor eventually was cleared by the team's medical staff as well as the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant (UNC).
"Mr. Hochuli's decision to send Mr. Taylor to the sideline for evaluation after spotting an observable sign of possible concussion, demonstrates a conservative and therefore appropriate application of the Concussion Protocol," the statement read.
The veteran official's actions were hailed as "appropriate application of the Concussion Protocol and proactive officiating."
Other enhancements include requiring the Booth ATC Spotter to stay in contact with the club's medical team until confirms that an evaluation has taken place. That change was made as a result of the Broncos-Panthers opener in which Cam Newton also took a helmet-to-helmet hit.
The Panthers QB was slow to get up but never left the field to be evaluated for a possible concussion.
The league found that Panthers doctors and the UNC on the sideline asked the independent spotter upstairs to look at video of the play because they didn’t have a clear view of the hit from the sideline.
No wrongdoing was noted in that instance, but the protocol was amended.