In 2015 Sarah Thomas made history when she became the first female official in the National Football League.
On January 13, 2019; she made history again by being the first female to be a part of the officiating crew for a divisional playoff game when the Los Angeles Chargers faced the New England Patriots in Foxborough to determine who would face the Kansas City Chiefs for the right to play in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
Thomas will serve as the down judge on referee Ron Torbet’s crew.
She was one of nine officiating rookies in 2015; 50 years after Burl Toler broke the colour line and became the league’s first African-American official.
Thomas continues her trailblazing moments; previously she was the first female to officiate in a college football game.
Thomas’ quest to became an official began when she followed one of her brothers to an official’s meeting.
The Pascagoula, Mississippi native earned herself a scholarship to he University of Mobile where she played softball and basketball and graduated with a BA in Communications in 1995.
Her officiating career began with grade school game and then moving up to high school where she was a part o the crew who officiated the high school championship game between teams from Alabama and Mississippi.
It was that game that helped lead Thomas to the ranks of the college football and Conference USA.
Thomas noted that being the only female in an all male crew has not been an issue, “everybody has been very professional, and they look at me just like another official.”
Her first taste of the NFL came in 2013 when she became a part of the League’s development program and was a part of the officiating crew in pre-season games.
When not on the grid-iron, the mother of three is a pharmaceutical sales rep.
Replay official Terri Valenti also became a pioneer when she was a part of the replay officiating crew for the Indianapolis Colts – Kansas City Chiefs game.
feature photo taken from Facebook