Sarah Thomas makes National Football League history as first woman to officiate in playoffs

14 January, 2019, 02:25 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • NCAA football official Julie Howell

Then she became the NFL's first full-time female official.

Thomas was the down judge in Sunday's divisional round game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers.

"This is a big deal", said Sam Rapoport, the senior director of football development at the NFL who has also advocated for more opportunities for women in football.

Thomas is no stranger to making history, having become the NFL's first full-time female official in 2015.

The moves come on the heels of the of the National Basketball Association announcing that referees Ashley Moyer-Gleich and Natalie Sago would be promoted to full-time status back in November, becoming the fourth and fifth women in league history to reach that level.


"I would love for girls growing up in this country to believe that if they love the sport as much as I do, that they could be a part of it", she told People.

"Maybe at times when they made a controversial call that I didn't think was right, I voiced my opinion but I think they would get just as aggravated with me at times, too", Thomas said.

Terri Valenti was the replay official in Saturday's playoff game between the Chiefs and Colts, also a first.

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: NFL Line Judge Sarah Thomas walks on the field prior to the start of the game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 11, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan.

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