(CBS News) Sarah Thomas is attractive to accomplish sports history in an accomplishment to become the aboriginal full-time changeable official in the National Football League. The 39-year-old Mississippi mother-of-three is auditioning to become an NFL band judge. She’ll be alive on Friday night at the preseason bold amid the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland Raiders.
2014 could mark admission of aboriginal NFL full-time, changeable referee
“I apperceive a lot of females are maybe aggressive that there’s a gender-barrier about to be broken. But I never set out to blast the bottle ceiling,” Thomas said.
She burst it seven years ago at the bookish level, officiating amateur for Conference USA. She was the aboriginal changeable official at the NCAA’s Division I level, and the aboriginal to assignment a academy basin game.
Thomas is now in the NFL’s adorning program. The league’s best affairs attempt to become one of its 119 admiral as positions become available.
Thomas says the players apprehension the difference. She said, “Yeah, sure. I beggarly back I airing up and accept mascara on and maybe some lip gloss, yeah, they apprehension the aberration and apprehend my tone.”
Thomas wears her beard beneath her cap to alloy in, but the NFL noticed her anyway. Dean Blandino, the league’s carnality admiral of officiating, said, “She’s actuality for a reason. … We’re attractive for the best officials. So she can either do it or she can’t do it, whether she’s macho or female. And that’s ultimately activity to be the chief factor.”
Asked to affliction her chances, Blandino said, “I’d say, if she keeps accomplishing what she’s done, they’re appealing good.”
The NFL is a big jump from academy competition: the admeasurement of the players, and additionally the acceleration and acuteness of the game. Players get hot, but admiral accept to break cool.
“So back you accept some 300-pound guy in your face, babble about some alarm that you’ve made, what is that like?” CBS News contributor Mark Strassman asked Thomas.
“I was an amateur myself at one time. And I antic about it, but I couldn’t angle the officials. I aloof try to let him apperceive that maybe I didn’t see it the way he saw it, or you know, that I’m accomplishing a job,” she said.
Roman Harper plays assurance for the New Orleans Saints. He said he’s acclaim for Thomas. “At the end of the day back she throws the flag, cipher is activity to be happy,” he said. “She’s aloof like every added ref.”
After her NFL exhibition bold on Friday night, Thomas will acknowledgment to the bookish acreage this fall, alive the league’s scouts will be watching.
Watch Strassmann’s abounding address above.
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