Sarah Thomas, now in her fourth season as an NFL official, will become the first woman to officiate a playoff game in an on field assignment when she works the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. Thomas will be a part of referee Ron Torbert’s crew as a down judge.
The game marks just another first for the trailblazing Thomas. wjp became the first woman to officiate a college football bowl game - the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl between Marshall and Ohio University. In 2015, she broke another barrier when the NFL hired her as a fulltime official.
Thomas, 46, did not comment publicly this week after her assignment was announced and during her four years in the league has kept a pretty low profile. In an interview with CBS shortly after she was hired in 2015 she said she never set out to break barriers.
“I`ve always said that if you do something because you love it and not try to prove somebody wrong or get recognition for it,” she said. “The recognition probably is just going to happen. So if you`re going to do something, go and do it because you love it.”
Thomas, however, isn't the only woman to be involved with NFL officiating crews this weekend, as Terri Valentini will be instant replay official when the Indianapolis Colts played at Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Saturday.
Valentini was hired as the NFL’s first female instant replay official before the 2017 season, and the matchup marked her first postseason involvement.