Politics

Sarah Thomas Will Become First Woman To Officiate A Super Bowl

Thomas will work as a down judge, part of an eight-member crew officiating the game in Tampa, Florida.

Line Judge Sarah Thomas #53 works the game between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half in a NFL game on September 13, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. | Getty Images
Line Judge Sarah Thomas #53 works the game between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half in a NFL game on September 13, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. | Getty Images

Referee Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to ever officiate a Super Bowl game. 

The NFL named Thomas as a down judge during Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa, Florida, where the city’s Buccaneers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. In another first, the Buccaneers will become the first team to ever play the league’s championship in their home stadium. 

Thomas has broken other records within the league: she became the first permanent woman NFL official in 2015. 

"When you start having more and more and more females," Thomas said in a recent NFL interview, according to NPR, "no one's doing it for the recognition. They are doing it because they love it."

Thomas will work as part of an eight-member crew, including referee Carl Cheffers, line judge Rusty Baynes, and side judge Eugene Hall, to officiate the game. 

"Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl,” NFL executive Troy Vincent, Sr. said in a statement. “Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor."

Thomas fits into a growing group of women gradually taking on roles in professional sports leagues dominated by men. In 2020, the San Francisco 49er’s Katie Sowers became the first woman and LGBTQ+ coach at the Super Bowl.

Even though women comprise nearly 50% of NFL fans, they’ve historically been underrepresented in jobs across the league. Teams including the Philadelphia Eagles have been portrayed as outliers for employing more than 50% women as top advisers to the team’s owner in various executive roles. 

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