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These Three Women Are Making Super Bowl History As The First Female Referee And Coaches

Published 1 year ago
By Forbes

Topline The Super Bowl LV marked a historic moment for women in the National Football League when a record-breaking three women took to the field Sunday, the most women to ever be represented during a Super Bowl game.


  • Down judge Sarah Thomas is the first female referee to officiate a Super Bowl game.
  • It’s not Thomas’ first time breaking glass ceilings: she broke barriers officiating college football before becoming the NFL’s first full-time female referee in 2015, and was the first woman to officiate a playoff game four years later.
  • While last year’s Super Bowl saw the San Francisco 49ers’ assistant offensive coach Katie Sowers become the first woman (and openly gay person) to coach a Super Bowl, this year marks another milestone: it’s the first Super Bowl that will feature two female coaches.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers has two women on its coaching staff: Lori Locust, a defensive line assistant and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar, who have both been with the team for two seasons.
  • “M.J. (Maral Javadifar) and I are here to help Tampa Bay win,” Locust said during a press conference last week. “We acknowledge the fact that there hasn’t been many before us, but it’s not anything that we keep in the forefront of what we do on a daily basis.”


2020 was a big year for women in traditionally male-dominated sports leagues. In November, Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play during a Power 5 Conference college football game. The same month, the Miami Marlins announced the franchise would hire Kim Ngr, making her the first female general manager in Major League Baseball history. San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon made history unexpectedly in December when she became the first woman to serve as head coach during a regular-season NBA game when coach Gregg Popovich was ejected.

By Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff

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