The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 1:00 am

NFL notebook

Thomas to become first female Super Bowl official

Associated Press

NEW YORK – Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first female to officiate the Super Bowl in NFL history.

Thomas, a down judge, is part of the officiating crew announced Tuesday by the NFL.

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” said Troy Vincent Sr., the NFL's executive vice resident of football operations. “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.”

Referee Carl Cheffers will lead the seven-person crew of on-field game officials for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Cheffers has been a game official for 21 seasons in the NFL and was promoted to referee in 2008. He has worked 17 playoff games, including the Super Bowl in 2017.

The crew includes umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge James Coleman, side judge Eugene Hall, back judge Dino Paganelli and replay official Mike Wimmer. The crew has 88 years of NFL experience with 77 combined playoff games.

“Their body of work over the course of a 17-game season has earned them the honor of officiating the biggest game on the world's biggest stage,” Vincent said. “They are the best of the best.”

Ravens release back Ingram

Three-time Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram has been released by Baltimore,  who used the 10-year veteran as a starter for the first seven games this season before dropping him deep on the depth chart.

Ingram, 31, was on the inactive list for four of Baltimore's last five games, including playoff matchups against Tennessee and Buffalo. He finished with 299 yards on a career-low 72 carries and two touchdowns.

On Monday, the Ravens released veteran backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, who served as backup to Lamar Jackson for three seasons. Griffin started for Jackson in Pittsburgh on Dec. 1, pulled a hamstring and finished the season on the injured reserve list.

Falcons name Fontenot GM 

Atlanta named Terry Fontenot the team's first Black general manager, finding new leadership from within their division. The 40-year-old Fontenot spent 18 seasons with NFC South rival New Orleans.

Fontenot helped build a consistent winner as the Saints' vice president and assistant general manager in charge of pro personnel. The Falcons fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn following a 0-5 start this season, which led to a 4-12 finish, Atlanta's third consecutive losing season.

The Falcons signed Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as their head coach on Saturday, a day after agreeing to terms.


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