The NFL has never had a woman work as an on-field game official. That may change soon.
NFL V.P. of Officiating Carl Johnson told Jane McManus of ESPN.com that he expects to hire a female official.
“We have some in our pipeline, and I expect we’ll see it soon,” Johnson said.
Johnson wouldn’t say who the female officials in the pipeline are, but he was presumably talking about either Sarah Thomas, a Conference USA official who was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, or Terri Valenti, who was the second female official in major college football and the first in pro football when she worked a UFL game last year.
Thomas said she likes the idea of moving up to the NFL.
“Any professional sport is at the highest level, and if they asked me to officiate at that level, I would not turn them down,” Thomas said.
Valenti has also said she wants to be an NFL official.
“I’d love to make it to the NFL; if I could get to the top of my profession that would be just awesome,” Valenti said after becoming the UFL’s only female official last year.
“Our goal,” Johnson said, “is to get the best people working this game.”