Sarah Thomas will soon make history. The NFL official will become the first woman in League history to officiate a Super Bowl game.
During the biggest matchup in the NFL, Thomas will serve as a down judge in Tampa Florida. The official will serve under Carl Cheffers, whose leading the match-up. For Cheffers, this is his 21st season and the 17th Super Bowl match-up that he will be a part of. Thomas joins Cheffers and five others that make up the seven-person crew for the game.
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official. Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent wrote in a statement.
Sarah Thomas Started in the NFL in 2015
In 2015, Thomas made history by becoming the first woman to become a full-time on-field official in the NFL. The NFL has been around since 1920, with this year being the 55th Super Bowl. Since Thomas’ groundbreaking achievement, the League has become more inclusive, adding a few female coaches within franchises. But Thomas remains the only female official in the NFL.
Thomas has been a history of firsts. She was also the first woman to officiate a college football game before moving to the NFL. After graduating from the University of Mobile, Thomas got her start officiating youth and high school games in Mississippi. From 2007 to 2015, Thomas officiated football games during the collegiate season.
“She understood that the rules of the game of football should be applied within the spirit of the game and not within the technical writing of the rules,” Gerry Austin, a former NFL official, told ESPN. “I’ve always (stressed) understanding the spirit of rules and don’t be technical. If there’s a call to be made, have the courage to make the call, and she fit within that framework.”
Thomas has met the criteria to officiate the Super Bowl after previously officiating the playoffs. Super Bowl Officials must have a minimum of five years experience as well as in-season performance.