History will be made on Super Bowl Sunday: Sarah Thomas will be first female to ref a Super Bowl
photo illustration: Emma Clute
This year’s Super Bowl match-up of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will feature a new referee this year. Sarah Thomas will be the first female to officiate a Super Bowl.
Thomas was named the first female official in the NFL in 2015, and ever since then league officials have admired her excellent work. She officiated her first playoff game in 2019, and now she is ready for the Super Bowl.
"Her elite performance and commitment to excellence have earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor," NFL Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent Sr. said, according to CNN News.
Officiating the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal for most referees, and the road to get there is not always easy. Referees must be in the NFL alone for five years in order to even qualify for officiating the Super Bowl, and that’s after officiating all levels of football.
“You could never get to the Super Bowl unless you start at the bottom, so high school or junior high. You have to take a test and pass it on rule knowledge and mechanics. Every few years, you have to take a test to move up to varsity or tournament level,” 34-year basketball referee, Marty Campbell said.
As Thomas gets ready for the Super Bowl, she will not only make history, but she will inspire more people to become a referee. She is taking a step forward to show the world that women and men can do anything they put their minds to.
“She is a huge inspiration because she is showing everyone that all of her hard work and battles through becoming a ref have paid off. She sets the example that no matter the gender, people can become anything they want in life,” sophomore Emma Delmore said.
Thomas has had a remarkable officiating career as she has been a referee for 26 years. She has officiated high school, college and now the NFL. Throughout her career, she has developed lessons to get through her officiating career.
“Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all,” Thomas said, according to the US Chamber. As she officiates, she strives to always take advice and learn from her past games in order to improve, which is why she has the honor of officiating the Super Bowl.
As the day of the Super Bowl is coming up, Thomas is preparing to show the world her skills and confidence. Everyone watching can be inspired by her story and her skills will show everyone that she was not chosen to referee due to a publicity stunt, but rather she was chosen because of her skill and excellence throughout her entire career.