Super Bowl Will Be Officiated by a Woman for the First Time — Meet Judge Sarah Thomas
History has been made after the NFL announced that a woman would officiate the Super Bowl for the first time! Sarah Thomas will serve as the down referee in next month's much-anticipated game.
Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to call the game in next month's Super Bowl, on referee Carl Cheffers' crew of 6 officials. Although the first time for the Super Bowl, Thomas is no stranger to making history.
She became the first female on-field official when she joined in 2015. In 2019, she added another notch in her belt as the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game.
Thomas has gone on to work a total of 4 postseason games over six seasons with the league. The NFL's executive VP of football operations, Troy Vincent, congratulated Thomas' excellent performance which earned her this feat on merit.
Thomas meets the minimum 5-year requirement combined with in-season accomplishments. Journalist Mina Kimes expressed her delight following the announcement on ESPN Live and said:
"It makes me all the more excited to watch the game. It's exciting to see her yet again being a pioneer."
Thomas was yet again part of a historical moment this past Sunday when she refereed the Washington - Browns game. Only this time, two more women would join Thomas in the spotlight, making it another first for the NFL.
Not only was there a woman refereeing the game, but both teams were being coached by women, too. The Cleveland Browns are under the helm of Callie Brownson, with Jennifer King coaching Washington.
Fan reactions on Twitter were mixed.
The #SBLV crew:— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) January 19, 2021
• Carl Cheffers (R)
• Fred Bryan (U)
• Sarah Thomas (DJ)
• Rusty Baynes (LJ)
• James Coleman (FJ)
• Eugene Hall (SJ)
• Dino Paganelli (BJ)
• Mike Wimmer (RO)
Sarah makes history as the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl. https://t.co/EVvz45QgFx pic.twitter.com/tDvWZPx9JG
In a game that saw Cleveland triumph over Washington, 34-20, all three women were congratulated by the Washington Football team for rewriting the script of what is historically considered a male environment.
The Cleveland Browns were super proud of their coach, pre-empting the game with a congratulatory Tweet. With Thomas, King, and Brown posing for a photo together, the team Tweeted:
"Making history. Today's game marks the first regular-season game in @NFL history to have a female coach on both sidelines + a female official."
Both King and Brown have stellar careers themselves, as they continue to break the mold for women in the NFL. King is the first black woman in the league to coach Washington, having assumed the role last February.
Brownson became the first woman to serve full time in the NCAA Division as a coach. Both ladies are former players, with King a former receiver for the Carolina Phoenix, while Brown played for D.C. Divas.
Fan reactions on Twitter were mixed, with some congratulating Thomas on the upcoming Super Bowl, while others the opinion it will be the beginning of the end for football.
Come February 7, where Jazmine Sullivan will perform the national anthem, Thomas will take center stage in the crew of 8 officials that were announced. Together, have a wealth of experience among them, amounting to 88 years of NFL experience.