Sarah Thomas makes National Football League history as first woman to officiate in playoffs

Tanya Simon
January 14, 2019

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

Sunday will mark the third playoff showdown between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his Chargers' counterpart Philip Rivers. She's spent the last two seasons as a down judge, before previously working as a line judge.

And in another move for equality, Terri Valentini, the NFL's first female instant replay official, is scheduled to work the Indianapolis Colts-Kansas City Chiefs Divisional matchup on Saturday in Kansas City.

Thomas made history in 2015, when she was hired by the NFL to be the first full-time female officiant in league history.

Following this week's games, the remaining teams will go on to play the conference championships before the two remaining teams will meet at Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. But she stressed that her focus was on "being the best official I can be".

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

That same year, her hometown of Pascagoula renamed its recreational gym in honour of the trailblazing referee and former high school basketball and softball standout.

Thomas's career has been an ongoing blitz against sexism in the NFL.

"As women, the way we carry ourselves speaks a lot".

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