In a Senate floor speech, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) this week heralded the historic role Mississippi native Sarah Thomas will play on Sunday as the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl game.

Hyde-Smith’s speech praised the successful trajectory of Thomas’ career from student athlete, an academic All-American college basketball player, and groundbreaking football official.

“To me and many others, Sarah’s selection to officiate Super Bowl LV is just a natural progression for a talented professional,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I can assure you, anyone who knows Sarah as I do will not be surprised by her successful career.  Sarah—a mother and career woman—has all the qualities I imagine the NFL wants in a good official: smart, confident, decisive, reliable, and committed.”

“My state of Mississippi is extremely proud of Sarah Thomas, and we look forward to watching her latest history-making appearance at the Super Bowl,” she said.

Below is the full text of Hyde-Smith’s remarks:

Mr. President, as Americans and people around the world settle in front of their televisions this Sunday to watch the 55th annual Super Bowl, they will be tuning into a historic event.

 I am not speaking about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the game or Tom Brady’s record Super Bowl appearances.  Instead, I am focused on the history that will be made by an exceptional woman from Mississippi, my very good friend, Sarah Thomas.

Sarah Thomas, a native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, will go down in sports history on Sunday as the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl.

Sarah has always had a passion for athletics.  She made a name for herself in high school sports.  She became an academic All-American in basketball at the University of Mobile, where she amassed a career record of 779 points, 441 rebounds, 108 assists, and 192 steals—accomplishments that illustrate her determination to perform at the highest level. 

While the news of a female officiant for the Super Bowl is a historic first, Sarah is no stranger to making history.

Following college, Sarah’s attention shifted to football, namely officiating games.  She quickly earned a reputation as an elite referee while officiating high schools games.

Sarah became the first woman to officiate a Division 1-A high school game in Mississippi. 

Sarah continued to do so well in her craft that it caught the attention of the renowned NFL official Gerry Austin, who invited her to an officials’ camp.  

Here again, Sarah’s talents proved impressive and she soon became the first woman to officiate a college football game and the first woman to officiate a college bowl game.

The NFL hired Sarah as its first female official in 2015, and in 2019 she became the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game. 

To me and many others, Sarah’s selection to officiate Super Bowl LV is just a natural progression for a talented professional. 

I can assure you, anyone who knows Sarah as I do will not be surprised by her successful career.  Sarah—a mother and career woman—has all the qualities I imagine the NFL wants in a good official:  smart, confident, decisive, reliable, and committed.

My state of Mississippi is extremely proud of Sarah Thomas, and we look forward to watching her latest history-making appearance at the Super Bowl. 

And to Sarah’s children—these precious children Bridley, Brady, and Bailey—congratulations to you on this historic achievement, and you can be so proud of your mother.