At long last, professional football is an equal-opportunity sport. The Los Angeles Times reports that Sarah Thomas, a line judge with years of experience making calls in college football, has been named one of the eight new NFL officials selected for the 2015 season. Which makes Thomas, 41, the first-ever female to hold a permanent official position in NFL history.
A Mississippi native, Thomas has been forging through uncharted football territories for years: She was the first woman to officiate a big college football game (between Memphis and Jacksonville State) in 2007, as well as a bowl game (the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, between Marshall and Ohio) in 2009. She was also a finalist for an NFL officiating position in 2013.
But despite impressive and inspiring career track record, Thomas says she doesn't consider herself a pioneer. When she was initially on the shortlist to become an NFL official, Thomas told NFL AM, "I set out to do this and get involved in officiating, not having any idea that there were not any females officiating football. Being a former basketball player, you saw females officiating all the time. So no, I don't feel like a pioneer—but I'm just fortunate to be here."
Self-professed pioneer or not, she's shattering a whole new glass ceiling. Team Thomas for the win.
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