Sarah Thomas to Become First Woman to Ref an NFL Playoff Game

Sarah Thomas has a lot of firsts in football, and she's not done yet.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Jan 11 2019, 3:08pm

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The NFL's inability to address diversity is omnipresent, but on Sunday there will at least be one barrier broken that has been long overdue: Sarah Thomas will officiate Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game between the LA Chargers and the New England Patriots. She will be the first woman to officiate an NFL Playoff game according to Football Zebras, who initially reported the referee assignments for this weekend.

Thomas has been a pioneer in the male-dominated sport for some time now, with a litany of firsts, starting with being the first woman to officiate a major college football game in 2007, the first to officiate a bowl game in 2009, the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium, the first to become a full-time NFL official in 2015, and now Thomas, who has worked as a down judge for the past two seasons, will do so again on Sunday.

At the time she was hired by the NFL Thomas told CNN, "I've just been doing this truly because I love it. The guys don't think of me as a female, they see me as just another official."

In the past, she's had fans attend some of her firsts. I think she'll have at least a few in the 67,000 Gillette Stadium.