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Who is Sarah Thomas? Meet the first ever female Super Bowl referee

Sarah Thomas has made NFL history tonight at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay

Sarah Thomas Super Bowl referee
Getty Images
Published: Monday, 8th February 2021 at 1:15 am

Super Bowl history has been made in 2021 as Sarah Thomas became the first ever female referee in the showpiece game of American Football.


Of course, this year's Super Bowl was always going to be a historic one, a different one, not just another one, but Thomas' inclusion in the referee crew is most certainly a welcome change this year.

She is one of a seven-person team tasked with officiating the game, and fans are delighted to see her on the field. brings you the full lowdown on Sarah Thomas, the first ever female Super Bowl referee.

Who is Sarah Thomas?

Sarah Thomas was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA on 21st September 1973.

Growing up, she was a talented basketball prospect, amassing 779pts over her three years on the University of Mobile team – the fifth-highest total in the school's history.

The 47-year-old has been a trailblazer throughout her career having been the first female to officiate a major college football game, the first in a bowl game, and the first in a Big Ten stadium, essentially various levels of football in the US.

In 2007, after taking charge of several college football games, respected officials coordinator Gerry Austin said: "She came highly recommended by two NFL scouts.

"She has a good presence and demeanour. I feel like she has the ability and courage to make a call, and the guts to not make one, too."

She was hired as the first female NFL referee in 2015 and has featured in games across the land as part of Shawn Hochuli's crew.

In 2016, she broke her wrist during a nasty collision during a clash between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, but remarkably, after passing concussion tests, she returned to the field to fulfil her duties and continued to officiate the game.

She is a down judge, standing at one end of the line of scrimmage with the crew responsible for moving the orange yard marker chains down the sidelines.

Thomas' main duties include keeping a sharp eye out for offsides, encroachments and a variety of other fouls around that area of the field.

This may be her first Super Bowl, but by all accounts, it most certainly won't be her last.


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