When you watch either a college football game or the NFL, you expect the biggest men on the field to be the linebackers and linemen. Usually, the referees are just in the background and, occasionally, one of them gets laid out by a man twice his size because they ended up in their path to the endzone.
Ed Hochuli was a rare case in the NFL. The now 70-year-old was known for his jacked physique that was better than some of the players on the field, and his tendency to overexplain penalty calls. Hochuli stood at six-foot-two and 230 pounds and never once got bulldozed on the field. He has since retired, but there is a college football referee who could follow in his footsteps.
College football ref Christian Watson goes viral for physique
During Friday night's college football game between Utah State and North Dakota State, one specific referee caught the attention of social media. Christian Watson is a young referee whose physique made him an overnight viral sensation. Here's a photo of the young man and maybe it'll give you a hint as to why he's so popular.
He's more muscular than Ed Hochuli was and looks like he came right off the field as a middle linebacker and changed into black-and-white stripes. His forearms remind you of Hulk Hogan. Some have called him the "Bo Jackson of referees" as he also officiates college baseball and basketball along with college football. In an interview, the San Antonio native said he joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2016 and joined the Big 12 in 2017.
It's unclear if we will ever see Christian Watson in the NFL to replace Ed Hochuli as the "muscle man", but we are starting to see a bit of a trend with more physically refined football referees in college football. In 2017, "Beef Ref" Mike Defee officiated the national championship game between Alabama and Clemson and became a viral star himself for having jacked arms and a "swole" physique.
Defee was shocked by his sudden popularity and said the referees just try to be invisible. At the age of 56, he said he lifts every week and tries to get to the gym four days a week.