Meet Sarah Thomas: NFL’s FIRST Female Ref

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The NFL has hired Sarah Thomas, the game’s first full-time female referee.

Thomas was previously the first female to officiate an NCAA football game in 2007.

NFL referee Sarah Thomas

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Thomas has been on the league’s radar for seven years. NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino said in 2013 that “She was in our pipeline for a while,” but noted that making the leap to NFL official takes time for any prospective official. “It’s similar from when a players jumps from college to the NFL,” he said at the time. “Getting used to that type of speed is important.” h/t cbssports

Technically Thomas is not first female to officiate an NFL game; Shannon Eastin earned that distinction when she worked as a replacement ref early in the 2012 season.

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