NFL’s first full-time female official – I’m no ‘overnight sensation’

Sarah Thomas made history this week, as she was one of nine new officials named by the NFL. 41-year-old Sarah is the NFL’s first female official. She has spent almost 20 years on the field working hard and making her own way in the male-dominated sport.

A longtime official at the collegiate level in Conference USA when she was hired in 2007, Thomas explained that she has spent the last two years working in the NFL’s officiating training program.

Sarah Thomas - NFL Official

“I’m here because of years and years of preparation and hard work,” Thomas said. “The speed will be an adjustment going from Collage football but the developmental program that we’ve been involved in is a tremendous training ground for officials. I’m honoured that I had two years in that program and hopefully that will transition me to the National Football League.”

Thomas grew up with brothers, brothers who all played the game and always taught her how to carry her own, so when questioned about the concern for her safety from possible big hits she responded with – “I’m a big lady, and I try to prepare myself mechanically to make the right call in the right place, therefore don’t get hit. However, I know it’s a case of when not if, but that’s the nature of the game.”

Sarah Thomas - NFL Official

Certain players have been vocal regarding their thoughts on her appointment, one in particular Sen’Derrick Marks from the Jacksonville Jaguars says this is a ploy, a publicity stunt by the NFL in reaction to recent domestic violence stories surrounding the National Football League. Thomas’ reaction to such comments is that this is not an ‘over night sensation’ and that this has been a journey for her for many years now.

Sarah Thomas - NFL Official

The NFL is clearly getting a huge amount of positive PR from the recent hiring of Thomas, who has been busy on TV network’s and making the headlines worldwide, however that doesn’t mean these positive PR spins are the reason she got the job. Far from it, Thomas has been involved and dedicated to the sport for 20 years and she got the job because she most definitely earned it! Good luck Sarah, we look forward to seeing you in action.


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