Yesterday, at the NFL’s 55th annual Super Bowl, one of the biggest sporting events of the year, fans watched Sarah Thompson become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, Sr. said in a statement, “Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official… 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.”
Last year, Katie Sowers with the San Francisco 49ers was the first woman to coach a Super Bowl. This year, more women follow in her footsteps and continue to push for progress in the NFL.
The game started with Amanda Gorman, activist and poet, reciting her original poem “Chorus of the Captains” in honor of the three honorary captains– Marine veteran James Martin, Los Angeles educator Trimaine Davis, and Tampa ICU nurse manager Suzie Dorner. Gorman is the first poet to recite at a Super Bowl game.
Two women helped lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory last night– Lori Locust, defensive line assistant, and Maral Javadifar, assistant strength and conditioning coach.
This season, there were eight women coaches in the NFL, a record-breaking number for the organization. Before 2015, there were no women coaches in the league. As of recently, this list includes Jennifer King, whose promotion by the Washington Football Team has made her the first Black woman to coach full-time in the NFL.
Many women in sports are eager for diversity to become normalized and expected. Carrie Brownson, chief of staff for the Cleveland Browns, said, “I look forward to the days where we stop talking about how ‘she’s the first this’ and we’ve accomplished all those things, and women can just naturally fit into these coaching roles, scouting roles and operational roles.”
Sources: New York Times 2/7/21; Deadline 1/7/21; ESPN 2/6/21; New York Times 1/3/21