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

(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.”

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
Aug 4, 2013 6:52 AM CDT
Nobody sees continuing to celebrate women's first's as pandering? Anyone can do anything if they put in hard work. Equal rights. It means we stop blowing this stuff up. What would hinder a woman from performing differently from a man, everything else equal? Nothing.
Aug 4, 2013 1:07 AM CDT
Looks a bit frail. She needs to get into the weight room with Ed Hockulee.
Aug 3, 2013 7:02 PM CDT
Nothing against lady refs,but they have to take the illegal procedure penalty out of the game.It's ridiculous,a guy twitches in a defensive line formation and bam, 5 yard penalty.