Pascagoula native 1st female official to work a Super Bowl

Published 6:20 pm Sunday, January 24, 2021

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — Pascagoula native Sarah Thomas has accomplished plenty of firsts throughout her NFL officiating career, and she’ll again make history as the first female to officiate the Super Bowl.

The NFL announced Thomas as being part of the officiating crew for the Super Bowl, which will be played on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida. The NFC participant will be decided when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers play at 2:05 on Sunday. At 5:40 p.m. on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will play host to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship.

Thomas, who works as a down judge, became the first full-time female official in NFL history in 2015.

In 2019, she became the first female official to call an NFL playoff game.

Prior to working in the NFL, Thomas called games on the college level in Conference USA and became the first female to work a bowl game.

Her accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed on her native Mississippi Gulf Coast. In March of 2016, Pascagoula High School renamed its recreational gymnasium in her honor.

“There was a lot of pressure being the first, but I didn’t feel it,” Thomas said after the Pascagoula ceremony in 2016. “It’s a job that was a lot of fun. I never got too high. I never got too low. I learned a lot from the referee crews I worked with.

“The fans were great. Dads wanted to take pictures with me, moms and girls asked for my autograph. I never set out to be a role model.”