NFL hires Sarah Thomas as first permanent female official

The NFL has hired Sarah Thomas as the first permanent female official in league history. A former official for Conference USA football games, Thomas joins the NFL along with eight other college officials. The Mississippi native has previously officiated NFL preseason games, working as a line judge. Thomas was one of 21 finalists for a permanent officiating job two years ago. "She has the right temperament and attitude and feel for the game," an officiating source told The Baltimore Sun, which first reported the hire last week. "She knows the rules and understands how to apply them in the spirit of the rules. That sets her apart, male or female." In 2012, the NFL hired Shannon Eastin during an officiating lockout as their first female official and she worked one game between the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams. She wasn't a permanent hire, though. Thomas has experience working the New Orleans Saints' practices and an Indianapolis Colts minicamp as part of the NFL officiating development program. She also officiated the United Football League championship game in 2010. A resident of Brandon, Miss., who's married with three children, Thomas works as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She attended the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship. Thomas has worked college games, including becoming the first woman to officiate a bowl game when she was picked for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl between Marshall and Ohio. Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun
Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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