Sarah Thomas Will Become First Woman to Officiate Super Bowl

Sarah Thomas will make history next month. On Tuesday, the officiating crew for Super Bowl LV was [...]

Sarah Thomas will make history next month. On Tuesday, the officiating crew for Super Bowl LV was announced, and Thomas will be the down judge. She will become the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl (which is free to watch online this year).

"Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official," NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in a statement. "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." Thomas will be joined by Carl Cheffers who will be the referee. He will officiate his second Super Bowl and will lead a seven-person crew.

"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," Vincent said. "They are the best of the best." Rounding out the crew will be umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge James Coleman, side judge Eugene Hall, back judge Dino Paganelli and replay official Mike Wimmer.

Thomas, 47, became a permanent NFL official in 2015. Before joining the NFL, Thomas worked in college football, joining Conference USA in 2007. "She understood that the rules of the game of football should be applied within the spirit of the game and not within the technical writing of the rules," Gerry Austin, supervisor of Conference USA officials told ESPN in 2015. "I've always (stressed) understanding the spirit of rules and don't be technical. If there's a call to be made, have the courage to make the call, and she fit within that framework."

In 2019, Thomas officiated the playoff game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers. She became the first woman to earn an on-field assignment for a playoff game. In the 2015 ESPN interview, Thomas talked about the moment she learned she was going to be an NFL official.

"That call came Thursday, April 2 at 10:47 a.m.," she said. "And when I looked at my phone, and it was area code 212, I was just praying that it was [NFL vice president of officiating] Dean Blandino on the other end of the line, and it was, and he just said it was an honor for me to have received it. So I tell my girlfriends and family that I was speechless, and it's hard for them to believe that now, but it was just an honor and a humbling experience, and I'm glad I got the call."