Down judge Sarah Thomas (53) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


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Sarah Thomas made history Sunday as the first woman to referee a Super Bowl. Thomas was part of a seven-person crew officiating and worked as a down judge at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay.

Announcing her addition, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, Sr. called the group of referees “the best of the best” in a statement.

She was joined by veteran referees Fred Bryan, Rusty Baynes, James Coleman, Dino Paganelli, Carl Cheffers and Mike Wimmer. The group has 88 years of NFL officiating experience and 77 combined playoff game assignments, including past Super Bowls.

Thomas was first ever female referee at an NFL playoff game two years ago. She was also the first full-time female referee in the NFL and first woman to work a major college football game.

For her, it’s always been about the work.

“I’ve always said that if you do something because you love it and not try to prove somebody wrong or get recognition for it, the recognition probably just is going to happen,” Thomas told CBS News  in 2019.

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