Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Sarah Thomas To Be First Woman To Officiate NFL Playoff Game

Sarah Thomas To Be First Woman To Officiate NFL Playoff Game

Sunday will mark the third playoff showdown between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his Chargers' counterpart Philip Rivers.

On Sunday, Sarah Thomas, the NFL's first full-time female official will serve as a down judge during the AFC Divisional Playoff game.

Not only is Thomas's presence on the gridiron notable.

Terri Valenti was the replay official in Saturday's playoff game between the Chiefs and Colts, also a first.

The mother of three boys, she was part of the NFL's officiating development program in 2013 and 2014 and had worked at mini-camps, training camps and exhibition games before getting hired full-time in 2015. She's spent the last two seasons as a down judge, before previously working as a line judge.

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Thomas says she wants to focus on "being the best official I can be".

NFL Network analyst and former wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. hailed Thomas' appointment, saying she was an "outstanding" referee.

"Maybe at times when they made a controversial call that I didn't think was right, I voiced my opinion but I think they would get just as aggravated with me at times, too", Thomas said.

Hopefully, Thomas and Valentini will be the trailblazers for more future female National Football League officials. "When we carry ourselves with confidence and walk into a room with confidence, the atmosphere changes".

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