There won’t be a whole lot to look for in Thursday night’s preseason finale between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. If you’re searching for something though, look near the sidelines, where one of the NFL’s pioneers will be stationed.
Sarah Thomas, the first full-time female official in league history, will serve as line judge on veteran referee Pete Morelli’s crew for the Patriots-Giants game in Foxboro, Mass.
This will be Thomas’ first full season in the big leagues, but she has been on an NFL field before. During the last two seasons, the Mississippi native was part of the NFL’s development program and worked several scrimmages and preseason games, including Chip Kelly’s debut with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The league liked what it saw enough to hire Thomas full time in April 2015. She certainly has the pedigree, as she has been refereeing since she graduated from college in 1995. She became the first female official to work a major college football game in 2007, then was the first female ref to work a bowl game two years later when she suited up for the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl.
The Patriots and Giants are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images