Both New England Patriots fans and Los Angeles Rams supporters had issues with the officiating assignments for the conference championships games, and yet, both teams overcame the zebra (or got their help, in the Rams’ case) and advanced to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
Now for the all-important question: Who will be the one with the whistle come Feb. 3?
The NFL announced referee John Parry, who is in his 12th season as a referee and 18th as an official, will lead the officiating crew for one of the most-watched sporting events on the planet.
Parry doesn’t have the baggage that Bill Vinovich or Clete Blakeman do, but he did have a rather questionable call in the NFC Divisional Round between the Rams and the Dallas Cowboys.
During the second quarter, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott dropped back to pass and was grabbed by his own offensive lineman, which caused Parry to whistle the play dead, crediting the Rams with a sack even though Prescott still had the opportunity to wiggle away and make a play.
Oof. Not the best call.
After the game, Parry said he made the call in order to protect Prescott, who was “in the grasp” with a defender coming.
So, do either the Patriots or Rams have an advantage with Parry running the show? LA fans certainly aren’t upset with the assignment.
Since Parry became a referee in 2007, New England is 9-5 in games he’s called, while the Rams are 7-0, according to Pro Football Reference. The Patriots went 0-1 this year when Parry had the call, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-10, in Week 15.
Parry also served as head referee in Super Bowl XLVI, when the New York Giants defeated the Patriots, 21-17, per ESPN’s Field Yates.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images