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Sarah Thomas will be NFL’s first female to officiate in the Super Bowl. She will make history on February 7, in the Super Bowl LV. (Photo : Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Sarah Thomas was named in the officiating crew that will be handling the Superbowl LV. She became the first woman in NFL history to officiate the NFL Championship.

Sarah Thomas Makes NFL History

The National Football League announced on Tuesday that Sarah Thomas is included in the officiating group as Super Bowl’s down judge. This will mark his sixth season in the NFL as a football referee. 

The head of the officiating team, Carl Cheffers will be leading his seven-member crew on February 7 for the Super Bowl 2021 which will be held at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Cheffers, 60 has been promoted to referee 13 years ago.

Cheffers will be officiating for this 21st season in the NFL after participating in 17 playoff appearances which started in 2000. This will be his second Super Bowl officiating that will happen since the Houston Super Bowl in 2017, where the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in NFL’s first overtime period decision, 34-28.

According to USA Today, Thomas was also the first female official in the NFL to assign as a full-time officiating member.

Prior to the upcoming football championship, she already worked as a judge after taking part in the match between Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots during the divisional playoff game in 2019. The Patriots won the game, 41-28, and later beat the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl LIII with a 13-3 win.

In a report by CNN, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent Sr. congratulated Thomas for her accomplishment.

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official. Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl,” Vincent said in his statement.

The Cheffers-led crew is composed of umpire Fred Bryan, back judge Dino Paganelli, field judge James Coleman, line judge Rusty Bayne, side judge Eugene Hall and Mike Wimmer who will be the Super Bowl’s replay official. The crew has already appeared in a total of 77 playoff matches in a span of 88 years of combined football experience.

For Cheffers, Baynes, Hall, Bryan, and Paganelli, this will be the second time that they will be officiating in the NFL Super Bowl. Coleman, on the other hand, is set to experience the Super Bowl officiating for the first time.

Vincent praised the whole crew saying that they were deserving of the honor to officiate the most prestigious game in the world’s biggest arena.

Besides officiating the 2019 Divisional playoffs, the 47-year-old Thomas was a known hard-worker despite gender differences. In a report by The Guardian, she became the first woman to officiate a high school division in Mississippi and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2009.

Sarah’s desire to explore football officiating started in 1996 when she chaperoned her brother in a meeting of football officials. At that time, she indicated that he missed the college life of playing many sports.

In 2013, Sarah told ABC’s Good Morning America that she grew fascinated especially when she had no idea about football rules and how to play it. She persevered to learn the basics and eventually jumped to the complicated parts, where she later treasured for the rest of his officiating career.


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