1st female Super Bowl referee inspires GR women’s football team

Grand Rapids

A courtesy photo of all-women’s football team the Grand Rapids Tidal Waves training.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — History was made this Super Bowl Sunday with the game having its first woman to referee the big game.

Sarah Thomas from Mississippi was a part of a seven-person crew officiating the Super Bowl. NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent called the group “the best of the best.”

News 8 spoke with an all-women’s football team in Grand Rapids about what this means to them.

“That’s really inspiring because I think it’s that representation that is so lacking and will really help gain interest,” said Sarah Geels, a wide receiver and corner for the Grand Rapids Tidal Waves.

“Having girls see her there, then they can say that’s a place for me, too, and they’re not going to necessarily have to have those situations that I had when I was growing up,” said Elisha Marr, a fullback for the Grand Rapids Tidal Waves.

Thomas was also the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first woman to officiate a bowl game and the first woman to officiate in a Big Ten stadium.

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