Sarah Thomas “honored and blessed” to be an NFL official

AP

The NFL formally introduced Sarah Thomas as its first female full-time official today, and Thomas told reporters that she views her appointment as simply the next step in a long officiating career.

“I did not set out to become an NFL official, but the further along I went in the progression, in Conference USA, part of me thought it might be a reality,” Thomas said. “You work every game and hope to be asked back to work the next one. . . . My goal has always been to be the best line judge I can be any time I can get the opportunity . . . just to be the best official I can be, and I feel honored and blessed to be in the National Football League now.”

Thomas said she was a competitive athlete growing up but never thought she’d be an official. It was only after she stopped playing sports that she decided to go into officiating, and after several years she heard from NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino.

“When I was playing sports it never entered my mind, but once I got into the high school associations and then into college, the competitive side of me didn’t want to stop there. Fortunately enough, I got a call from Dean,” she said.

Thomas said she doesn’t think she’ll be treated differently from male officials. She did note that she has typically tucked her long hair into her cap so that she won’t stand out from other officials, something that was suggested to her by longtime NFL official Gerry Austin, who was her boss as the director of officials in Conference USA. Thomas added that Austin “also asked me not to wear any makeup, but I told him he was crossing the line there.”

Thomas said “it’s just the mindset of an official that you don’t want to be seen or noticed.” As the first female official, she’ll be noticed at first. But if she does her job well, she’ll quickly blend in.

35 responses to “Sarah Thomas “honored and blessed” to be an NFL official

  1. What a joke. The NFL likely surpassed many qualified male candidates just to make headlines to help dilute the the reality of physical abuse on women from it’s athletes. I see right through this BS. She may feel blessed but she only represents a curse the league has put on itself.

  2. Hopefully she’s part of a big upgrade in officiating

    Still, you gotta give the existing guys credit

    It can’t be easy to work at Footlocker all week and then be 100% on Sunday

  3. I see there are already a couple scorching hot takes in this comment thread. I can’t wait to see them all…

  4. Why don’t we actually watch her ref a game before deciding that she is no good? I mean honestly, do we really think she would be any worse than some of the crappy refs we already have… just because she’s (GASP!) female?

  5. Don’t matter that she’s a woman so much as whether she can call a game correctly more often than not… or should I say, more often than her previous year’s counterparts did…

  6. LOL @ veteranscout, apparently you missed the first comment “the times they are a changin”…how old are you like 96? You can’t honestly believe that, can you? The refs can’t get much worse so even if that was true, what’s the difference? Are you aware women have the same rights as men? Crazy, right? They can even vote! One might even run for president! Wow, what a time to be alive!!!

  7. I hope she does so awesome,

    that is highlights how bad our current zebra roster is.

  8. Chris Paul thinks this job is not for her…

    But seriously, just be ready for player X, said something about her, and the whole things gets blown up on ESPN.

  9. As the first female official, she’ll be noticed at first. But if she does her job well, she’ll quickly blend in.

    ——

    One could argue that she’d actually stand out if she did her job correctly.

  10. RavenzGunnerz nailed it: there will be a weekly report on Sarah on BSPN. Wonder if they’ll ask the other refs about her “hygiene habits” like they did Michael Sam.

  11. In all honesty, I’d rather have her on the field then calling the game in the booth. Just can’t get used to ESPN’s female play by play women on college football. When I hear the voice, I search for a different game.

  12. veteranscout says:
    Apr 8, 2015 2:49 PM
    “What a joke. The NFL likely surpassed many qualified male candidates just to make headlines to help dilute the the reality of physical abuse on women from it’s athletes. I see right through this BS. She may feel blessed but she only represents a curse the league has put on itself.”

    Of ye of closed mindedness, previously how many qualified females were passed over in order to keep it the ole boys club?

  13. PC in the NFL. What a joke. Wont be long now before some team will be forced to sign a player from the state prison. Just to be PC.

  14. I wonder how long it’ll be before Ed Hochuli gives her a couple free passes to the gun show….

  15. Best of luck to Ms. Thomas! I wonder if the simple presence of a woman in authority will somehow alter the otherwise uninterrupted he-man bravado we so often see on the field. If nothing else, it will at least lend a little perspective to it.

  16. Ive got zero problems with this if she does her job correctly. However, I am not so blind to think that part of the reason she (a woman) was hired to be a ref is due to the fact that the NFL got hammered last year due to all of the bad press they received. (rapes, beatings, etc….ALLEGEDLY). This was more of an NFL PR fix, “HEY LOOK AT US, WE ARE CHANGING” than it was based on pure merit (which I am sure she brings to the table).

  17. So when she throws a flag and marches off the penalty yards, and the player asks what he did wrong – she says “Oh you know what you did.”

  18. mauldawg says:
    Apr 8, 2015 4:17 PM

    PC in the NFL. What a joke. Wont be long now before some team will be forced to sign a player from the state prison. Just to be PC.

    Heck, there are enough players in jail to have a “prison combine”.
    Soon to add a pro bowl tight end.

  19. 69goatboy says:
    Apr 8, 2015 3:44 PM
    I wonder who will be the first player / coach that gets caught on film checking her out.

    ===============

    Whoever it is, it will be in the first drive of the first game of the season she’s in.

    Remember, these are pro athletes we’re talking about.

  20. If she gets hurt, will they change the rules of the game? Will they make it mandatory for ALL referees to wear padded equipment as a result?

  21. I didn’t realize that the NFL made an announcement every time it hired an official. They’re turning a non-story a spectacle. End of the day she is an official its a part time gig that lawyers in their 60’s do on the weekends…

  22. The usually stupid adolescents statement from middle school. Make you wonder how the kids are like living in the 50’s, its the 21st century fools. Bill

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