Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl during Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 7, the NFL announced on Tuesday.
Thomas just finished her sixth season as an NFL official and will be working in her fifth playoff game.
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” NFL executive vice president for football operations Troy Vincent said in a press release. “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.”
A native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Thomas has already been the first female official to work a college bowl game and in 2015, the first to work an NFL game.
Thomas, 47, got her start in the NFL as a line judge in 2015. In 2017, she was promoted she was promoted to head linesman, a move which coincided with the NFL replacing that term with the gender-neutral down judge. She worked her first playoff game in 2019.
Thomas wears uniform number 53. For the first time this season, she was permitted to wear a snap-back hat, allowing her pony tail to be visible from underneath her hat as she works.
The NFL picks the official at every position that grades the best throughout the season as officials for the Super Bowl. In addition to Thomas, Carl Cheffers will referee, Fred Bryan will be the umpire, Rusty Barnes the line judge, James Coleman the field judge, Eugene Hall the side judge and Dino Paganelli the back judge. Thomas and Coleman will be making their Super Bowl debuts.
“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,” said Vincent. “They are the best of the best.”