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NFL'S FIRST FEMALE OFFICIAL

Sarah Thomas' Inside Story

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CHANGING THE GAME

As the NFL’s first female official, Sarah Thomas has been seen on millions of televisions across America, quietly making a name for herself in one of the most challenging fields for women: football. With a mix of fiery determination and Southern humility, Sarah has shattered a glass ceiling and barely made a sound. 

Get to know Sarah:

  • •    Began her officiating career in 1996

  • •    Was the first female to officiate a college game 

  • •    Debuted as an NFL official during the 2015 season
  • •    Lives in Mississippi with her three children: sons Bridley and Brady, and daughter Bailey
Sarah Thomas and NFL referees
AN OFFICIAL IN THE MAKING

Growing up as the only girl and the middle child in her family, you might think Sarah got special treatment, but in her family, everyone was on an equal playing field. 

That inclusion instilled in her the knowledge, that regardless of gender, she should always pursue her dreams. 

I GO WITH MY GUT, IT USUALLY DOESN'T LEAD ME ASTRAY.

So when her brother called and asked her if she wanted to try football officiating, she didn’t think twice. 

Sarah Thomas, first NFL referee
Sarah Thomas and Activia
KEEPING HER EYES ON THE END ZONE

Being the NFL’s first female official was no small feat. It took years of inner strength and determination. 

Her work ethic and love for the game, coupled with her mantra, “Always strive,” helped propel her through the ranks. 

I DON'T SETTLE. I ALWAYS STRIVE TO GET THE BEST OUT OF LIFE. BECAUSE IT STARTS ON THE INSIDE.

Her inner strength is exactly what led her to achieve success. And she hopes that by following her passion, she inspires others to do the same.

FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE AND JUST GO AND DO IT BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT. DON'T LET THAT INNER CRITIC HOLD YOU BACK.

Sarah Thomas getting ready to ref a football game

Like many women, Sarah juggles career and family. The mother of three spends many nights on the road during the NFL season, so she relies on phone and video calls to maintain balance between the two. 

WE CAN BE MOTHERS AND BE ON THE ROAD. AND IT NEVER TAKES AWAY FROM HOW MUCH WE LOVE OUR KIDS. IT JUST LOOKS DIFFERENT. 

But being a mom and an NFL official are just part of Sarah’s story. Over the years she’s been unwaveringly her feminine self, even as she’s navigated a male-dominated field, literally.

WE DEFINITELY WANT TO BE PRETTY. WE'RE GIRLS. BUT WE CAN GO OUT THERE AND BE ROUGH AND TOUGH, TOO.

Sarah might consider herself just your average mom, but the truth is, she’s a pioneer. And a perfect example of what it means to be your best ally. It starts inside. 

Sarah Thomas and child
Sarah Thomas and children

*Live InSync = Être en phase