Yahoo Sports details the life and journey of Sarah Thomas, who will be the first woman to ever officiate a Super Bowl. Plus, the two coaches who will be joining her on the field in Tampa Bay, FL, on Sunday, February 7th.
- What does it mean to be a trailblazer? What does it embody? What does it look like? Maybe it looks like this. You see, Mississippi native Sarah Thomas is a trailblazer.
SARAH THOMAS: Being selected for this year's Super Bowl in Tampa and being the first female that has been selected to do such, it means a lot to me.
- Sarah Thomas's passion for officiating began when she joined her older brother at a high school football officials meeting.
SARAH THOMAS: I fell in love that moment whenever I was taken back that, you've got to be kidding me, these guys actually get together and discuss rules and what-if scenarios and just plays that happen and challenge each other? And it felt that I could give back, in a sense, to just organized sports. I love sports.
- But after 10 seasons officiating high school football, and becoming a mother, Thomas almost gave it up.
SARAH THOMAS: I worked a high school playoff game, and there was an NFL scout there. Dr. Joe Haynes. He got me plugged in with Gerald Austin of Conference USA. Gerald hired me, and my career in college began. I attended clinics. I worked in the UFL. I worked on Arena Ball. And then I got the phone call from the NFL in 2015.
- And after years of hard work and dedication, she's now making history.
SARAH THOMAS: I never set out to be the first at all, in any of this. But knowing the impact that I'm having on not just my daughter but young girls everywhere, women everywhere. And I have to add in, young men and men, too. I know that I'm probably gonna get a little teary eyed. Understand this is remarkable, and I'm truly honored and humbled to be a part of this year's Super Bowl group.
- On Super Bowl Sunday, Sarah Thomas won't be alone as the only female on the field. She'll be joined by Tampa Bay's assistant coaches, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar.
LORI LOCUST: I feel like this incredible wave for women has come. And I think we need to do it responsibly, but I feel like it just is gonna continue to roll through. And I hope that I'm able to be a part of pushing it forward.
MARAL JAVADIFAR: You have to individualize it, you have to make mistakes, and you have to screw it up in order to get it right. And I do believe that. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, as cliche as that sounds. But you have to put yourself in those situations to grow and to allow yourself, even give yourself a chance to be elite and be at that level.
- Being a trailblazer is a selfless act, paving the way for the next generation of women. Like Sarah Thomas.
SARAH THOMAS: Do it because you love it. Don't do it because you want the recognition. But I think there's power in numbers. And when you start having more and more and more females, no one's doing it for the recognition, they are doing it because they love it.