Mississippi’s Thomas is first woman to officiate a Super Bowl
Published 3:00 pm Thursday, February 4, 2021
A Mississippi native will be the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl game when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet Sunday in Tampa for Super Bowl LV.
Sarah Bailey Thomas, 47, is a Gulf Coast native who lives in the Jackson metropolitan area with her husband and three children. She became an NFL official in 2015, the first full-time female official in the league’s history.
Thomas was also the first woman to officiate a Division 1-A high school game in Mississippi, to first 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 2019, she became the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game.
This week, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, heralded the role Thomas will play on Sunday.
“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.”
Hyde-Smith said the entire state is proud of Thomas.
“We look forward to watching her latest history-making appearance at the Super Bowl,” Hyde-Smith said.
To view Hyde-Smith’s speech on Thomas in the U.S. Senate, click here.