Sarah Thomas Will Officiate Superbowl LV in Tampa, Becoming 1st Woman in History to Do So

Down Judge Sarah Thomas smiles for the camera before a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.
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Sarah Thomas has got game. On Feb. 7, Thomas will officiate Superbowl LV in Tampa, Florida, becoming the first woman to ever do so, the NFL announced Tuesday, CBS reported.

Thomas, 47, will be part of a seven-person crew of referees and will serve as a down judge on referee Carl Cheffers' crew, ESPN reported. 

Troy Vincent, Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations, called the group of referees "the best of the best" in a statement, CBS reported. 

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” 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."

Thomas has been someone to watch in the sports industry. Thomas joined the NFL in 2015 as its first female on-field official, ESPN reported. She was the first ever female referee at an NFL playoff game two years ago. She was also the first full-time female referee in the NFL and first woman to work in a major college football game, CBS reported.

The league assembles its Super Bowl officiating crew based on eligibility. One must have a minimum of five years of experience as well as in-season performance to be considered for a spot. Thomas has worked a total of four postseason games in six seasons with the league, ESPN reported. 

"I've always said that if you do something because you love it and not try to prove somebody wrong or get recognition for it, the recognition probably just is going to happen," Thomas told CBS News in 2019.

Joining her will be veteran referees Fred Bryan, Rusty Baynes, James Coleman, Dino Paganelli, Carl Cheffers and Mike Wimmer. Cheffers, who served as crew chief for Super Bowl LI, will be working his second Super Bowl in five seasons. 

The group has 88 years of NFL officiating experience and 77 combined playoff game assignments, including past Super Bowls, according to CBS. 



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