Mom of Three Breaks Barriers, Becomes First Female NFL Referee

Mom of Three Breaks Barriers, Becomes First Female NFL Referee

There’s nothing we like to hear about more than a mom making the impossible, possible.

Sarah Thomas, a 41-year-old mother of three, is officially the first female referee in the NFL. From parenting her three children, ages 14, 11, and 2, working as a pharmaceutical sales rep, and refereeing for over 20 years, Thomas is pretty much the definition of busy.

She’s also not a stranger to breaking down gender stereotypes on the football field. Not only is she to be the first woman to referee a professional NFL game when the 2015 season kicks off, but she was also the first woman to work at college games in 2007.

While some may assume her new history-making job is a reaction to all of the violence against women issues within the NFL this year, Dean Blandino, the league’s head of officiating, disagrees. He said, “She’s been on our radar since 2007, so this isn’t an overnight sensation.”

When she’s on the field, Thomas tucks her ponytail under her cap so that she can blend in. She just wants to do her job, not cause distractions due to her gender. We’re pleased to see the NFL employ a female referee, especially since there are only 119 people who hold the position.

No one can explain it better than Thomas, saying, “I am a female, but I don’t look at myself as just a female … I look at myself as an official.”

We admire Thomas’ ability to look past gender stereotypes in sports and think she’s a great role model for her two sons and daughter. They don’t even see gender as an issue with her job, she explains, “They just know mom officiates and it’s nothing foreign to them or pioneering or anything, I do this.”

Congratulations on your new position, Sarah! We’ll be routing for you!