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Sarah Thomas to make history as first woman to officiate Super Bowl

Sarah Thomas is shown before a game in a mask.
NFL official Sarah Thomas is shown before a game between Cleveland and Washington on Sept. 27. She has been selected as down judge for Super Bowl LV, which will make her the first woman to officiate in the NFL’s championship game.
(David Richard / Associated Press)

Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl.

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 president 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, Fla. 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.

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Brandon Staley, the former Rams defensive coordinator who was hired as the Chargers’ new head coach, has had a meteoric rise in the NFL coaching ranks.

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 combined NFL experience with 77 combined playoff games.

This will be the first Super Bowl for Coleman 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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