Thomas to become first woman official in Super Bowl history

Published January 20, 2021, 5:51 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

In this file photo Line judge Sarah Thomas looks on during warmups prior to the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl when she serves as down judge for next month’s championship spectacle, the NFL announced Tuesday.

Super Bowl 55 will be staged on February 7 at Tampa, Florida.

In 2015, Thomas became the first permanent female official in NFL history, debuting as a line judge in a Kansas City at Houston game. She became the first woman with an on-field assignment in an NFL playoff game in 2019.

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said.

“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.”

The role Thomas fills was known as head linesman before she began serving as a down judge in 2017.

Carl Cheffers, a 21-season NFL veteran official, will be referee for the championship contest, leading a seven-person crew. He was also in charge of Super Bowl 51 in 2017.

“Their body of work over the course of a 17-game season has earned them the honor of officiating the biggest game on the world’s biggest stage,” Vincent said. “They are the best of the best.”