How Come There Were No Female NFL Employees at the Super Bowl?
Loads of qualified women, not one present during the championship.
The 52nd Super Bowl has just wrapped up, with the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots 41-33. Not only did the event feature performances from P!nk and Justin Timberlake, it also caught our attention for another reason – there were no women in the NFL officiating crew.
In 2012, Shannon Eastin was the first woman to referee a NFL football game, and in 2015 Sarah Thomas became the first female referee in the NFL. Kathryn Smith and Katie Sowers also made history, becoming the first and second female assistant coaches in NFL history. Although women have made progress in the field, no women were considered in the appointing of the 52nd Super Bowl officiating crew.
To be selected, the officials are required to have at least five years of NFL experience, meaning that Sarah Thomas couldn’t qualify despite her two decades of officiating experience outside the NFL. But, it isn’t just a systemic issue – Terri Valenti who has had five years of experience with instant replay was also passed on being selected as an official. This means that not only were there no women present this year, but there have never been a female representative in the Super Bowl officiating crew.
The absence of women in the field is striking, and can not be blamed on the necessary requirements as the NFL has taken years to hire female officials to begin with. In 2017 it was reported that approximately 45-percent of the NFL fanbase were women, and despite setting out to “increasing its efforts to attract more young female fans,” the sport is still largely male-dominated. It remains to see how the industry will progress, and we can only hope that women will be given a bigger platform within the NFL and the sport itself.