When Ed Hochuli presides as referee of the 49ers' wild-card playoff game at Green Bay, it will mark his first playoff assignment since the 49ers' NFC Championship Game loss to the New York Giants in January 2012, according to footballzebras.com.
Hochuli, one of the league's most respected and tenured officials, drew the ire of coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers for nullifying a potential fumble by the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw, ruling that his forward progress had been stopped.
Tied at 17 just before the two-minute warning, the questionable call occurred near the Giants' 20-yard line, after Dashon Goldson recovered what appeared to be a Bradshaw fumble after he caught an Eli Manning pass. Bradshaw caught the ball at the 15-yard line, then got hit by both cornerback Tremaine Brock and linebacker NaVorro Bowman at the 21. Bowman clearly stripped the ball from Bradshaw's clutches.
Goldson pounced on the ball at the Giants' 18-yard line, but an official (head linesman Mark Hittner) quickly ruled that Bradshaw's forward progress had been stopped, allowing the Giants to keep possession.
Although the league later endorsed the ruling, Harbaugh was still steamed the day after that 20-17 overtime loss and compared the call to the "Tuck Rule" that doomed the 2001 Raiders' playoff game at New England.
Since that January 2012 NFC final, Hochuli has worked two 49ers games: December 2012 at New England and this past October against Jacksonville in London.
The 49ers have seen their past two playoff exits accompanied by complaints about officiating. Harbaugh wanted a defensive holding penalty called on a failed fourth-down pass to Michael Crabtree in last season's Super Bowl.