The Twitter account NFL Officiating posted on Sunday, Feb. 7 that the day marks history for professional football's annual championship game, as Sarah Thomas is the first female referee to work the contest in the event's 55-year history.
"History made [checkmark emoji]," the tweet read. "Sarah Thomas – the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl."
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent Sr. congratulated Thomas in a previously released statement. "Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official," the exec said. "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."
The feat led to supportive messages from other public figures, including Sarah Fuller, the 21-year-old Vanderbilt University athlete who became the first woman to participate in a college football game for a Power Five conference team when she took the field as her school's placekicker.
"Smile because it's Super Bowl Sunday and an incredible Woman is making history today!" Fuller tweeted. She added the hashtags #breakingglassceilings and #LeadLikeAWoman.
Thomas, 47, was hired in April 2015 as the first full-time female ref in league history. In a 2019 interview with NFL Total Access, she shared that other members of the league have treated her the same as they would any other official.
"As far as my peers, and those that are on the field—coaches, players—they see me as an official," she explained, "and that's exactly what I want."