She Might Be NFL's First Female Referee

Sarah Thomas among the pack up for next permanent promotion

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 3, 2013 1:32 PM CDT

(Newser) One female ref got a brief taste of life in the NFL last season when the league locked out union referees, but when the impasse ended, things went back to being an all-boys club. That has a real chance of changing on a permanent basis, perhaps this season or next, thanks to Sarah Thomas, reports Fox Sports Southwest. The 40-year-old former college basketball player is currently in New Orleans working practices by the Saints, and she is among the 21 refs who will be considered for promotion when the next NFL spot opens.

"I don't feel a weight on my shoulders," says the mother of three. "It's exciting. I didn't set out to be the first or a pioneer, but I will embrace it, if that does happen." Thomas regularly refs college games, and she's expected to work NFL preseason games later this month, reports Bloomberg. A former NFL ref who now coordinates officials on the college level gives her the praise any fan of the game would want to hear: “Her judgment on calls has graded out very high." She lets the players play, but when a call needs to be made, "she’s shown adeptness at knowing when you should pull the trigger.”

In this 2009 photo, line judge Sarah Thomas works an NCAA game.
In this 2009 photo, line judge Sarah Thomas works an NCAA game.   (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
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