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Sarah Thomas to be 1st female to officiate at Super Bowl

Tue Jan 19 3:03pm ET

Down judge Sarah Thomas is shown before an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Football Team in Cleveland, in this Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, file photo. Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first female to officiate the Super Bowl in NFL history. Thomas, a down judge, is part of the officiating crew announced Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, by the NFL. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)


Line judge Sarah Thomas (53) officiates during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers in Inglewood, Calif., in this Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, file photo. Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first female to officiate the Super Bowl in NFL history. Thomas, a down judge, is part of the officiating crew announced Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, by the NFL. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit, File)


Down Judge Sarah Thomas gestures during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., in this Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, file photo. Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first female to officiate the Super Bowl in NFL history. Thomas, a down judge, is part of the officiating crew announced Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, by the NFL. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt, File)


NEW YORK (AP) Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first female to officiate the Super Bowl in NFL history.

Thomas, a down judge, is part of the officiating crew announced Tuesday by the NFL.

''Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,'' said Troy Vincent, Sr., the NFL's executive vice resident of football operations. ''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.''

Referee Carl Cheffers will lead the seven-person crew of on-field game officials for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Cheffers has been a game official for 21 seasons in the NFL and was promoted to referee in 2008. He has worked 17 playoff games, including the Super Bowl in 2017.

The crew includes umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge James Coleman, side judge Eugene Hall, back judge Dino Paganelli and replay official Mike Wimmer. The crew has 88 years of NFL experience with 77 combined playoff games.

This will be the first Super Bowl for Coleman as well as Thomas and second for Cheffers, Bryan, Baynes, Hall and Paganelli.

''Their body of work over the course of a 17-game season has earned them the honor of officiating the biggest game on the world's biggest stage,'' Vincent said. ''They are the best of the best.''

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