Super Bowl 55 – 1st Female Referee

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The NFL announced the official seven-person crew that will officiate this year’s Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Among those will be Down Judge Sarah Thomas, and she will make history by becoming the first-ever female referee to work the Super Bowl, per NFL.com.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent spoke about Thomas’ historic accomplishment and how she deserved the opportunity to officiate on the biggest night of the sport:

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” Vincent said. “Her elite performance and commitment to excellence have earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor.”

Currently, the 47-year-old is the only female referee in the NFL. This is certainly a groundbreaking feat for Thomas. Her getting this opportunity should open the doors for other aspiring female officials to get their feet in the NFL.

Thomas, born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, began her career in 1996 and officiated her first game, a varsity high school one at that, in 1999. In 2007, she broke through by becoming the first female to referee a major college football game.

Thomas also officiated in the now-defunct United Football League and even worked a championship game. In 2013, she made the cut as one of the 21 finalists for an NFL officiating job. Two years later, she made history by becoming the first female ever to land a permanent gig as an NFL official.

Congratulations to Thomas, and continue being an inspiration for aspiring female referees all over the world.

Written by: Samantha Watts-Hopkins

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