In 2015, a progressive sports move made headlines when Sarah Thomas became the first full-time female referee in the NFL. Currently in her fourth season, she is continuing to create history.
As reported by Football Zebras, Thomas is assigned to officiate in this Sunday's AFC divisional matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England patriots, making her the first woman referee in an NFL playoff game.
Originally a basketball player, Thomas got her start in officiating as a high school football referee. In 2009, she became the first female college football referee, a move that started her ascent to NFL employment. "I set out to do this and get involved in officiating not having any idea that there were not any females officiating football," she once told the NFL Network.
This decade has seen a number of milestones for female participation in professional male sports. Also in 2015 (the year Thomas was hired by the NFL) was the employment of the first-ever female NFL coach by the Arizona Cardinals (the two would appear on field in a historic photo). 2013 saw the first woman to try out in the NFL Regional Combine.