Sweeping changes in terms of NFL referees are coming in 2018 as the original gun show, Ed Hochuli, will be walking away from his smedium stripes.
Hochuli will be joined in the pasture by longtime ref Jeff Triplette, NFL VP of Officiating Al Riveron announced on Tuesday afternoon. And he will be replaced by his son, Shawn Hochuli.
It was expected Triplette would walk away from the NFL after the 2017 playoffs, which featured him, rather surprisingly, getting a playoff call in the Titans-Chiefs game. That game featured some, ahem, questionable officiating and led to more questions about the nature of the assignment.
But the past is the past and Triplette, for all the questionable officiating he may have doled out in the past, shouldn't be buried on his way out.
Certainly the reaction to Hochuli's loss was a little more disappointing.
Hochuli has been the longest-tenured NFL official since 2007 and has been roaming the NFL sidelines since 1990. He was best known for his verbose explanations (he's a lawyer after all) and willingness to rock some serious bicep action while officiating NFL games.
Triplette has been an NFL official since 1996.
The NFL instituted centralized replay in 2017, but now more than ever it needs high-quality officiating as it starts to revamp the catch rule and try to play catchup with a television product that has made life increasingly difficult on NFL officials.