Longtime NFL referee Ed Hochuli retiring

Referee Ed Hochuli #85 gestures on the field during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers on November 9, 2003 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Vikings 42-28. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – Longtime referee Ed Hochuli, known for big biceps and long explanations of penalties, is retiring from the NFL, the league announced Tuesday.

The NFL announced one of their best-known referees was retiring after 18 years.

“I get notoriety because I explain things, and I get notoriety because I have a decent physique, which is funny because I’m a shrimp, a peewee compared to those players,” Hochuli told USA Today. “Neither one of those things has anything to do with whether I’m a good referee.”

Hochuli will be an independent consultant for the league, according to the Los Angeles Times. His son, Shawn Hochuli, will replace him as a referee.

San Diego Charger fans have mixed feelings about the veteran referee.

During a game against the Denver Broncos in 2008, Hochuli made a call that ultimately led to the Broncos coming back to beat the Chargers by 2 points.  Hochuli later admitted he made a mistake and responded to the hundreds of emails he received from angry fans.

“I’m getting hundreds of e-mails — hate mail — but I’m responding to it all,” Hochuli wrote to several Chargers fans, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. “People deserve a response. You can rest assured that nothing anyone can say can make me feel worse than I already feel about my mistake on the fumble play. You have no idea … Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection — I failed miserably. Although it does no good to say it, I am very, very sorry.”

Another longtime referee, Jeff Triplette, whose officiating career spans over two decades, announced his retirement earlier this year. He will be replaced by former side judge Alex Kemp.