Jan. 19 (UPI) — Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl next month, the NFL announced Tuesday.
The league said Thomas will serve as a down judge on referee Carl Cheffers’ officiating crew at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla.
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in a statement. “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.”
Thomas, who has worked a total of four playoff games in six seasons, joined the league in 2015 as its first female on-field official. The NFL assembles its Super Bowl officiating crew based on eligibility — a minimum of five years of experience is required by the league — as well as in-game performance in the regular season.
Cheffers, in his 21st season as an NFL official, will be officiating his second Super Bowl in five seasons. He also served as crew chief for Super Bowl LI in 2017.
Four other members of the crew — umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, side judge Eugene Hall and back judge Dino Paganelli — have worked at least one Super Bowl. Field judge James Coleman will round out the officiating crew for next month’s championship game.