John Parry is going to be the referee for the Super Bowl. He knows how to wear the uniform and get the blood pumping. He’s a really good official who has called one prior Super Bowl (yes, involving the Patriots) and five other playoff games since 2007.
Officiating is at the forefront of the league discussion right now. I get it. I tend to not go to conspiracy theories when momentary incompetence is more likely the explanation when a call goes badly, like in the Saints-Rams.
Well, here’s Sports Illustrated pointing out some facts on Parry to get ahead of the curve when it comes to a predictable complaint from the losing squad:
Referee John Parry: Since becoming a referee in 2007, Parry has overseen seven Rams games. All seven have been Rams victories. He also was the referee for Super Bowl XLVI, when the Patriots lost to the Giants.
I wasn’t able to duplicate that seven games number, using Pro Football Reference’s data on officials, but I did get six games, all Rams’ victories, spread over a dozen years. Most were in St. Louis. Most were with the Rams as the home team.
I feel pretty comfortable saying this is merely trivia. The Patriots were 6-0 in games officiated by Parry … until the Super Bowl loss to the Giants in 2012. The Patriots are still 11-3 in all games involving Parry (the losses are memorable, to the Chiefs in the “on to Cincinnati” game, and this year versus the Steelers). Parry was born in Indiana and lives in Ohio, so you will have to dig deeper if you want to establish a geographic connection to favoring either team.
For what it’s worth, The Saints were 8-4 in games officiated by Bill Vinovich before the NFC Championship Games, while the Rams were 2-10 in Vinovich-called games. The true conspiracy theorists are already evaluating whether the NFL has been again playing the long con game by having Parry officiate games and help St. Louis win back in 2008, just to set up this reversal moment and establish plausible deniability.
Or, you know, you can just assume that there’s nothing nefarious going on here and be reasonable.