NFL Full-Time, Female Referee In 2014
Sarah Thomas could become the first full-time female official in the NFL. (USATSI) Sarah Thomas could become the first full-time female official in the NFL. (USATSI)
The NFL might not be that far away from having its first full-time female official on the field. And when -- not if -- it happens, look to 2014 as the year and look to Sarah Thomas as the zebra breaking ground.
Thomas, 39, became the first female to ever officiate an NCAA football game in 2007 -- as well as a bowl game, when she was the line judge for the 2009 Little Ceasar's Bowl -- and after spending a few days in the league's official developmental program, she's on track to become the first female to officiate an NFL game.
The league told the Associated Press that Thomas is "in our pipeline" and 2014 looks like a reasonable target year for Thomas to make her full-time debut.
"It's just something that happened," said Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating. "She was in our pipeline for a while."
Thomas took part in the developmental program during three days of Colts minicamp and will be eligible for a full-time refereeing gig once she's completed the program. In order to actually land that gig, however, someone else will have to retire, bolts the NFL or get run over by Adrian Peterson as he books it to the end zone.
Source: Will Brinson, CBS Sports