Sarah Thomas makes history again


"Sarah Thomas" by araizavictor is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Thomas will be the first woman in history to officiate at the Super Bowl. The game will take place Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida.

Katie Miller, Rooster Reporter

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” said Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations.

Thomas will be a part of a seven  person group officiating and working as a judge at  Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay on Feb. 7. 

Vincent called this group of referees “the best of the best” in a statement he said Thomas will call the game alongside some of the top officials in pro football. Some of the men she will be officiating with include Carl Cheffers, Fred Bryan, Rusty Baynes, and more. Collectively, the group of referees have 88 years of NFL officiating and 77 combined playoff game assignments. 

“Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl Vincent said. “Congratulations to Sarah on this well- deserved honor.”

Umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge James Coleman, side judge Eugene Hall, back judge Dino Paganelli and replay official Mike Wimmer make up the rest of the crew. Coleman joins Thomas in making their Super Bowl debuts while the other officials will be working in the game for the second time. 

Thomas had even had previous experience working with the crew for the New England Patriots-Los Angeles Chargers divisional playoff game on Jan. 13, 2019. She will referee the game in February with the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Bucs and the Chiefs will meet at the event. 

As the down judge, Thomas will be assigned with watching for encroachment and offside penalties before the snap. Along with those tasks she will also be responsible for marking forward progress and working with the chain crew to make sure that accurate measurements are made including other tasks. 

Before every kickoff takes place, Sarah Thomas looks in the mirror and tucks her hair into her cap. Like most athletes, she has her own unique ritual, and that is it. Once she walks on the field, it makes her almost unrecognizable from the rest of the all male crew. When on the field other male referees say that they do not even realize that she is a woman unless they give her a close look and that is  the way Thomas likes it.

“When you’re out there officiating, the guys don’t think of me as a female. I mean, they want me to be just like them – just an official – and that’s what I’ve always set out to do.” Thomas said on Wednesday. Starting this fall, Thomas will be tucking her ponytail into her cap, but this time with the NFL logo on it. 

Whenever it was announced that Sarah Turner would be the first full-time female official in its 101th season the announcement brought a flurry of celebration and excitement for a lot of people at NFL.