sarah thomas AP Photo/John Froschauer

Nearly four years ago, on April 8, 2015, Sarah Thomas was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history. She had already become the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate in a Big Ten Conference stadium, and the first to officiate a bowl game. But the National Football League? That was next level then and she isn’t slowing down at all.

According to Football Zebras, Thomas will be the down judge in Sunday afternoon’s AFC Divisional Round playoff game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers, marking the first postseason assignment in her career and the first time the league will feature a female official in a playoff game.

So at 1:05 p.m. EST at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, you better believe NFL history will be made with Thomas becoming the first female to ever officiate a NFL playoff game.

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Thomas, who is listed as a sales representative from the University of Mobile in Alabama, will be part of crew for Ron Torbert, a referee she commonly works with. This will mark Tolbert’s seventh postseason assignment and has received one in every year he has been eligible.

For Thomas, however, it’s a different story. This is her fourth season as an NFL official and has spent the last two as a down judge, but has only been listed as an alternate in a 2017 Wild Card game, according to Sports Illustrated.

Joining Ron Torbert’s crew will be Thomas, umpire Rich Hall, line judge Mark Steinkerchner, field judge Brad Rogers, side judge Scott Edwards and back judge Dino Paganelli.


Additionally, replay official Terri Valentini, who was hired by the NFL in 2017, has been assigned to Saturday afternoon’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.

This will be a special moment for Thomas, a Brandon, Mississippi resident with three children, and a monumental postseason game for the entire NFL.

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Author placeholder image About the author:
With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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