One of the more under-the-radar names floating around the NFL in recent days has been Sarah Thomas, who is on the cusp of becoming the first female referee in the NFL. Thomas has experience officiating in high school and college football games, and is currently a conference USA line judge, so the pressure of “the big leagues” has not gotten to her as seen here in a quote from Fox Sports Southwest that also shows she is being treated like everyone else:
I don’t feel a weight on my shoulders. It’s exciting…I didn’t set out to be the first or a pioneer, but I will embrace it, if that does happen…I really don’t feel like I get harsher treatment of any sort. The coaches and the players, it’s their job. The players want to win, it’s competitive, the heat of the moment, spirit of the game…If I make a call or I miss a call, they express it and the coaches express it and we’re on to the next play.
The New Orleans Saints have been the first team to get some time in with the referee who is part of the NFL’s Officiating Development Program.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 1, 2013
While Thomas is making great strides for the NFL and women trying to break into the sport, don’t expect to see her on the field this season. She is the a finalist for one of the next full-time openings on a crew, perhaps making her debut in the 2014 season.