Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer, File
Regardless of which teams advance and travel down to Tampa, Florida to play in Super Bowl LV (55) on February 7th, there already are winners: females across the sports world.
On January 19th, the NFL announced who would be the referees officiating the Super Bowl after the upcoming Conference Championship games that will be played this weekend.
More often than not, referees are not recognized by fans, nor are they the most liked figures especially if they miss or make a bad call for one team. Yet, this upcoming Super Bowl is different, as all eyes will be on at least one referee; Sarah Thomas. Sarah Thomas being named as the down judge for the most well-known and watched championship game in all of sports is a historical moment for the sports world because Thomas is going to be the first female to officiate the Super Bowl.
Thomas has been no stranger to making her way into the history books as she made history when she became the first female on-field official in 2015. Since Thomas made her officiating debut in the NFL, she has refereed four postseason games including the Divisional Round playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019.
Becoming an official for the Super Bowl is not an easy task as there are requirements that need to be met to even be considered like having a minimum of five years of officiating experience and of course, regular season performance.
Not only has Thomas met these two requirements, but has exceeded them as NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent complimented Thomas when he said "...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."
Before being an official at the professional level, Thomas spent time as an official at the collegiate level, specifically in Conference USA. Along with officiating in Conference USA, Thomas also spent time officiating in the United Football League.
When Thomas puts on the black and white striped uniform, this will be a monumental step for females in athletics. Females have not received as much praise, or recieved the same kind of treatment as males in other sports whether that be in the collegiate or professional level, but now with Thomas being on the Super Bowl crew she can continue to be a role model that young athletes and females can look up. Not only can females look up to Thomas, but they can also aspire to be like her when they grow up.
Thomas made history once, and is now making history again, but more importantly, because of Thomas carving the way for other females, females can get a sense of hope that they too will be treated as equals to males sooner rather than later.