Ever since the Rob Lowe DirecTV commercials were taken off the air because they were threatened with litigation, we have been stuck with Hanna and her talking horse. But, wait, is it possible we have a Rob Lowe replacement?
Sarah Thomas had a typical childhood growing up in Mississippi. She played softball in high school and attended the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship. She works as a pharmaceutical representative and is married with three children. She sounds normal but she is definitely not – she is now the first permanent female game official in the NFL.
Thomas has been officiating football on and off for 19 years now. Despite trying to focus on her career and family, she was approached in 2006 by Gerald Austin, a coordinator of football officials for Conference USA. He invited her to attend the officials’ camp and was impressed by what he saw. Thomas was officially hired by Conference USA in 2007 and, since then, she has continued to impress and move up the ranks. In 2009, she became the first woman to officiate a bowl game. In 2011, she became the first female referee to officiate in a Big Ten stadium. Now, she is an official NFL referee.
Thomas’ humble attitude is one reason she is well liked. “I did not set out to become an NFL official, but the further along I went in the progression, in Conference USA, part of me thought it might be a reality,” Thomas told reporters on Wednesday through a conference call set up by the NFL. She also added, “my goal has always been to be the best line judge I can be any time I can get the opportunity. I feel honored and blessed to be in the National Football League now.”
Her humble attitude isn’t the only reason why she is popular. Ravens coach John Harbaugh praised her performance in a Baltimore preseason game last year. He told reporters on Wednesday that, “she might be one of the better ones we’ve had, she’s a good ref, so it was a good choice.”
Thomas isn’t concerned about gender barriers because she has made it this far. She is confident for the future, saying, “as far as players and coaches, I’ve been around a good little while, and I think they know who I am and just want to make sure I can do my job.”
Overall, Sarah Thomas is a great ref with a lot to offer. Her exemplary refereeing will hopefully pioneer the way for more woman to follow her lead.
New York City has been the location of the NFL draft for the last 50 years (first New York City draft was held on November 28, 1964 in the Summit Hotel). It has grown over the years with larger and more modern venues until the most recent, held in the Radio City Music Hall for the last 8 years.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that multiple cities have declared their desire to host a future draft, including Los Angeles, CA. He also stated that he would look into the possibility of moving the draft in 2015.
Personally, I have found the New York City venue to be a poor place to hold an event like the NFL Draft, because the majority of attendees are either Giants or Jets fans and they are loud and impolite whenever the commissioner or anyone from any team other than the Jets or Giants was on the stage. If we have to watch the draft on television, we should at least be able to hear what the commissioner or announcer is saying instead of hearing the boos and catcalls of the New York fans.
Holding a draft in Los Angeles or Las Vegas would make the draft a lot more pleasant, because the audience would be more varied than one that is strictly from two home town teams. Holding the draft on neutral ground would allow the audience playing field to be leveled.
What is your opinion?