Sarah Thomas will make history as the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl on February 7, after being selected as part of the officiating crew.
The National Football League (NFL) has announced that Thomas will serve as a down judge at the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida.
Thomas previously made NFL history when she became the first permanent female NFL official in 2015, and the first female to officiate an NFL playoff game in 2019.
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” NFL executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent Sr said.
“Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl, the national championships of the NFL, is the most watched TV program of the year in the United States. Last year, it drew an average of 99.9 million viewers.
As Mike Freeman wrote for USA Today, Thomas’ appointment to the Super Bowl is a massive deal in a sport that has long held a “boy’s club” mentality.
“Game officiating has long been one of the core bastions of control for the NFL. It’s gotten much better in recent years with more people of colour and women, but it’s been remarkably slow going,” Freeman wrote.
“Game officials don’t need to be world class athletes or have super physical strength. They just need to have good vision (barely), tough skin and be quick thinkers. Still, there’s been no women officiating in the Super Bowl until now, and only a handful of others officiating regular season and playoff games until now.
“This is the hardened, pinstripe ceiling Thomas just shattered.”