NFL names first full-time female official

April 9, 2015

Sarah Thomas will join the NFL as a line judge for the upcoming 2015 season. Thomas is the first female to be assigned full-time to an NFL officiating crew and will be the second female to officiate in a regular-season NFL game.  Thomas has been officiating in Conference USA since 2007.

Shannon Eastin, an official in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, was the first female official ever in the NFL when she served as a line judge for the first three games of the 2012 NFL season.

"I did not set out to become an NFL official," said Thomas."But, I guess the further I went along in the progression and getting into Conference USA, part of me thought that it may become a reality."

Thomas seemed cognizant of her historic achievement, even as she as she maintained a soberness about the occasion suiting a zebra. "It’s the mindset of an official that you don’t want to be seen or noticed and I don’t know if it’s just that my mind has been trained that way for 20 years. I don’t know. Do I downplay the honor that it is to be first? Absolutely not....But, still I’m an official and that’s the mindset that I have."

Thomas also expressed excitement that two of her fellow Conference USA officials - Clay Martin and Hugo Cruz - were also selected to be officials by the NFL.

The NFL roster of game officials for the 2015 season will include nine first-year NFL officials, the league announced today.

“Our incoming officials have all demonstrated that they are among the best in college football,” said NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino.   “We are excited about having them join us.”

The nine first-year NFL officials are:

Kevin Codey
Walt Coleman IV
Hugo Cruz
Bart Longson
Clay Martin
Aaron Santi
Shawn Smith
Sarah Thomas
Jabir Walker

By Staff of and news services

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