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John Parry: Pass interference review opens Pandora’s Box

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Referee John Parry #132 makes a call in the second half between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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John Parry retired as an NFL referee after officiating Super Bowl LIII, so he won’t ever work a game that includes a replay review to determine whether a pass interference foul occurred during a play.

Parry’s final game featured an incomplete pass to Rams wideout Brandin Cooks while he was covered and contacted by Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. No flag was thrown on the play, but NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron has said that it would be a foul if reviewed under the rule adopted this offseason.

In an interview with Jonathan Jones of, Parry agreed there was contact but doesn’t believe it significantly hindered Cooks’ ability to catch the ball. He also doesn’t seem to believe that the move to a rule that would turn the play into a penalty is a step in the right direction.

“What do I think of it? I’ve wrestled with this since late February from being involved with the competition committee, and I don’t think a day goes by where I wonder is this good? Could this be done differently? Is there a better way? I have tried to convince myself that where we’re headed is good. I can’t get there, I just can’t get there. I’m struggling with it. . . . People talk about sky judge, well both teams have five to eight assistants in a booth with video. They’re the best sky judges we have. So we kind of already have that but no one talks about it in that way. Then you get to what do we look at? Pass interference or player-safety fouls or what? It’s Pandora’s Box that they’ve opened.”

Parry will be working for ESPN as a rules analyst this season, which means we’ll likely be hearing from him about this rule several more times before the year is out.