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Sarah Thomas, an American football official, will become the first woman in history to officiate a Super Bowl for the NFL. Thomas has had many accomplishments prior to this in her football career, being the first woman to officiate a major college game, a bowl game, and in a Big Ten stadium. Thomas was hired on April 8th, 2015, becoming the first full-time female official in NFL history. Officiating for the NFL has taken Thomas years of work and accomplishments throughout her life and career.
On February 7th, Thomas will officially be part of the crew officiating and working as a down judge in Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl.
Thomas began her career officiating for the NFL as a line judge, then became a down judge in 2017, which she continued to hold into 2020. She also served as a head linesman in the second half of the season during 2018.
For Thomas, this is her sixth-season as an official, with Super Bowl LV being the fifth playoff game she has officiated.
Her hard work and dedication has gained respect from many high standing officials in the NFL. Troy Vincent, the NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations has been quoted saying, “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.”
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” added Vincent.
Gerry Austin has also taken note of her great work and skill on the field. “She has great communication skills,” says Austin. “She has the ability to calm the coach down and to explain whatever the coach is questioning. That’s a good skill, and Sarah has that skill. Coaches have confidence in Sarah’s ability to officiate in our conference, and I think that’s what’s helped her and carried her over to where she is in the NFL.”
Austin has also praised Thomas’s understanding of the game itself. “She understood that the rules of the game of football should be applied within the spirit of the game and not within technical writing of the rules.”
Thomas’s achievements have made a positive mark on football history throughout the years. She has broken records and marked several firsts for women’s history in sports. With her skill in her career and talents within the game, Thomas has become a new icon for women in football.