Sarah Thomas makes her debut as NFL’s first full-time female official

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The 41 years old, Sarah Thomas, who’s been in the development program for 2 years, is now officially the first full time woman on field official and will also be a line judge in 2015 NFL season.

Making her mark as the first female official in major college football, this mother of 3 felt just like one of the guys and that is exactly how she wanted it to be in hopes that it continues once the regular season begins.

“I know it may be new for some, but I think being a part of the developmental program and going that way, maybe they’ll see me just as an official,” Thomas said. “That’s how I want them to see me.”

The novelty will eventually wear off after a couple of games, leaving the result factor, scrutinizing every move to see if she is fit for the task.

“They just want the job to be done and be done consistently,” Thomas said. “Done right.”
Thomas grew up in Mississippi, still leaving there today, she had her first experience as an official, and was asked to be a clock operator, that’s when she told one of her mentors she had no idea where the clock was.

“So he said, ‘Well, we can train monkeys to do the clock, and we’re just short of them tonight, so it’s your job,” Thomas said. “That’s how I got introduced.”

Here is what referee Walt Coleman had to say about Thomas:

“They work their way up,” he said. “They work junior high. They work high school. They work college football. And so when they get the opportunity to work in the NFL, they’re working with the best officials in the world.”

Meaning that Thomas can expect to be hated by fans and the players. Once those striped shirts go out there on the field, everyone’s attention will be on them. Once the game begins it’s back to football.

As for Thomas, she seems to be ready and prepared for all of it, attention, second guessing, moments of grief and moments of glory.

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