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Bills hiring former NFL referee John Parry as officiating liaison, per report

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Veteran NFL official John Parry is back in the league, but not in the same capacity as he was before. Parry has accepted a job with the Buffalo Bills, according to the New York Post. Specifically, the 59-year-old is set to serve as an officiating liaison, which will include helping the coaching staff with replay decisions and rule matters.

Parry spent two decades as an NFL official. He began as a replay official in 1999 and was moved to side judge in 2000 before being promoted to referee in 2008, a role which he held until 2018. During his career, Parry was a referee for two Super Bowls (XLVI and LIII). 

More recently, Parry had been serving as a rules analyst for ESPN during their “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. 

“Officials look at the game so differently than players, coaches, and fans,” Parry told Football Zebras over the weekend. “So to have somebody up [in the booth]: Hey, this is the mechanic, this is why that person made that call. And no matter what happens to this replay, if they flip it, here’s where the ball will be spotted. Here’s the down and distance. The clock’s gonna start in the ready for play, or it’s a 10-second runoff, so you could take a timeout. So you better start thinking about that, will you take one? Will you not?”

Parry continued, “There’s so much on the shoulders of coaches as it pertains specifically to replay because it’s grown so much and it is complicated. It’s hard to keep all of that data straight. And I think there’s value to having — I mean, obviously if you’re working for a team, you want to win — but your job is to ensure that they have all the data that they can make the appropriate decision or the decision they want.”

Having a rules analyst during game broadcasts has become commonplace in recent years, but this move by Parry to work for a specific organization does seem quite rare. Given how teams like to mimic one another, it will be fascinating to see if other clubs try and poach officials in the seasons to come.  

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