The Super Bowl is one of the most followed sporting events on the planet and in this next edition, number 55, about 180 million people will see how a glass ceiling is broken. The NFL has announced that Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to referee the most important game of the football season, on February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida. The 47-year-old collegiate is a judge of down (a position similar to that of the linesman in football) and will form the refereeing team with six other men, all of them with experience in refereeing the final. The contenders are not yet known as the semifinals between Green Bay Packers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs – Buffalo Bills are resolved.
The NFL announced the appointment through its executive vice president of operations, Troy Vincent, who said that the presence of Thomas will make the final a historic match. “His elite performance and commitment to excellence have earned him the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah for this well-deserved honor, ”praised the vice president, who also wanted to highlight that the referee already made history in 2015 by becoming the first referee in the league.
Back then, the NFL made the historic decision to open the door to women so they could be part of the refereeing team. Thomas was the first to debut in a match and land a contract in 2015. Just over five years later, Thomas has participated in more than 80 matches. In 2019 she became the first woman to referee a match of play-off, another wall knocked down.
The NFL has been trying to promote the figure of women in sports for some time, with a number of collegiate and coaches far superior to other competitions. Last August there was a meeting for the first time with five women, three referees including Thomas and two coaches, part of the Cleveland Browns and Washington coaching staff. In Spanish football, women represent only 4% of the refereeing team (600 out of 15,000) and there is only one who participates in First Division matches, assistant collegiate Guadalupe Porras. In the Champions League, France’s Stéphanie Frappart became the first woman to be the head referee in a top European competition match this year by managing Juventus – Dynamo Kyiv.