Sarah Thomas makes history as first woman to officiate National Football League playoff game

NCAA football official Julie Howell

Terri Valentini, the NFL's first female instant replay official, will also work the Indianapolis Colts-Kansas City Chiefs matchup on Saturday, marking her first postseason assignment.

Though Thomas has been the only female referee in the league for much of her career, Jen Welter, the first female NFL assistant coach, said that when she was hired in 2015, she "started the dominos" for women in the league. Now she's reached another milestone.

On Sunday, Sarah Thomas, the NFL's first full-time female official will serve as a down judge during the AFC Divisional Playoff game. She will be the down judge in Sunday afternoon's contest. She's spent the last two seasons as a down judge, before previously working as a line judge.

Thomas had previously officiated at National Football League camps and practices.

After receiving the job offer in 2015, Thomas said she "was speechless", according to CNN, and was honored to be considered a "trailblazer" for female officials. "So tucking my hair, I blend in and I'm just another official".

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.

"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.

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