Sarah Thomas to become first female Super Bowl official


Jerry Glaser (Customs and Border Protection)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews assigned to Air and Marine Operations (AMO), Miami Air and Marine Branch patrol the airspace over Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 31, 2021, in advance of Super Bowl LV.

From being the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium and the first full-time female official in NFL history, Sarah Thomas has had many accomplishments in her football career. Even now in 2021 she is breaking down barriers and will become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.

As Thomas worked up the ladder in the NFL, she started in the position of line judge before she became a down judge in 2017. This position’s title, which was originally named “head linesman,” was then changed to “down judge” to change it to a gender-neutral term.

Super Bowl LV will be held on Feb. 7 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, and the Kansas City Chiefs will be competing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Thomas will be the down judge and will be responsible for looking for fouls before the football is snapped. Thomas became an official in April of 2015, giving her five years of experience working full-time as an official, and she also served as crew chief in Super Bowl LI. Becoming the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl is a huge achievement and because of Thomas’ experience, the position is well earned.