Pascagoula native Sarah Thomas will be the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl in the NFL, according to the release today from the NFL’s Officiating Twitter account. Thomas will serve as the Down Judge.
The #SBLV crew:
• Carl Cheffers (R)
• Fred Bryan (U)
• Sarah Thomas (DJ)
• Rusty Baynes (LJ)
• James Coleman (FJ)
• Eugene Hall (SJ)
• Dino Paganelli (BJ)
• Mike Wimmer (RO)
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) January 19, 2021
Thomas is the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a bowl game, and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium. In 2015, the Mississippian was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history.
Thomas was on the field officiating the post season NFC game Sunday featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints.
In 2019, Thomas was named to the Mississippi Top 50 as one of the state’s most influential people.
About Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas began her football officiating career in the 1996 when she attended a meeting for aspiring football officials with her brother, Lea. She worked 10 years in high school, doing as many pee-wee, middle school, and junior varsity games she could possibly do. In 2007, she was hired by Conference USA, and this was another history making milestone becoming the first female to officiate for the NCAA’s Major College Football Bowl Division. The hard work allowed her the opportunity to work numerous bowl games, championship games and All-Star games, giving her exposure to NFL officials scouting other officials.
Being hired in 2015, was only the first step. Sarah just recently completed her 4th season for the NFL as a Down Judge working with Ron Torbert’s crew.
Off the field, Thomas is Area Sales Director for Kare-In-Home Hospice, and a skin care consultant for Rodan & Fields. She was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi and is a graduate of the University of Mobile after earning a full scholarship as a basketball player, and Academic All-American honors. She has been a national spokesperson for Activia yogurt, appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, featured in Good Housekeeping, The New York Times and even named ABC’s World New Tonight’s Person of the Week in January 2017.