Dear NFL, Consider Yourself on Notice

While sports bloggers light the internets ablaze over whether Erin Andrews’ skirts are too short, I find myself fascinated by a post in a New Orleans sports blog about an unexpected sighting at this weekend’s Saints scrimmage. It was a post about another leggy blonde who’s making headlines for what she wears on the sidelines: a referee’s uniform.

Sarah Thomas officiated this Saturday’s scrimmage, fueling fire that the NFL may finally be hipping itself to the fact that:

a) women can comprehend the rules of the NFL

b) women can throw a yellow flag on to a field

c) women can handle it if a burly player says something mean.

(Oh and we can also vote and drive our own cars, too…although some still consider the latter questionable.)

Does no one else find it weird, if not even a little appalling, that in an age when a woman can make a legitimate run for President of the free world, the notion that she’d be qualified to officiate a professional sporting event is still considered somewhat controversial?

Sarah Thomas made history last year when she became the first female referee in a Division-I Conference USA game. Not only did she call the game, but she called it well. Said Thomas of the feat,

‘‘As far as breaking the barrier, I’m thankful somebody thought I had what it took to be the first female Division I official. As far as a barrier breaker, now that it has happened — I am honored.’’

And so are we Sarah. But the question remains, what will it take for Sarah to get a shot at the big leagues? We know there’s no easy street to NFL officiating, but Sarah Thomas isn’t exactly a newcomer. She’s got more than a decade of experience officiating at the high school and collegiate level. In June of 2007, Thomas was invited to the Reno Clinic, one of the most highly regarded officiating camps in the country. During the five-day camp, she was rated the #1 line judge by Super Bowl XLII referee Gerald Austin. In an interview last October, Austin told the Meridian Star

“At Reno, I graded her in the top two out of 12 other officials in her position. She has a good knowledge of football and graded out with no negatives (calls).”

Tell it like it is Gerald. Um NFL bigwigs, are you listening?

Are we saying Thomas should be put on a fast track to NFL officiating because she’s a woman? Absolutely not. She’d obviously have to follow the ranks of her male counterparts by spending a few more years at the collegiate level. But we’d like to think that once she’s paid her dues, she’ll be considered for at least a side or back judge officiating gig. After all, women account for nearly 50% of the NFL’s growing fan base. Wouldn’t it be nice to show us some love by acknowledging the fact that a woman can call a game with the same amount of accuracy as a man? (And considering how some of these guys call a game, I’d like to think maybe even a little better…)

And for those who say Thomas could put the game in jeopardy because she can’t “take a hit” like the male officials, I remind you that not every current NFL referee is built like the ever-buff Ed Hochuli. Some of those dudes are old enough to have voted for Kennedy. I’m pretty sure if they can take it, Sarah can.

So in conclusion NFL, we hope you’re paying attention to Sarah’s progress, because we sure as hell are.

In the meantime, you can buy all sorts of cool female NFL ref paraphernalia like the image pictured above by checking out the very nifty site

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About Nola Chick

Shaneika, a.k.a. Nola Chick, is a lifelong crazed Saints fan and creator of If she looks familiar, you may have seen her lose a Cadillac on "The Price is Right" with Bob Barker or win Super Bowl tickets on the Ellen Show. (She gets around...)

Twitter Handle: @chicksndahuddle


  1. I agree with the “take a hit” comment. Has the NFL seen how old some of those refs are? Geez, if they get hit its serious business. I think Sarah is grown up enough to decide herself whether she is physically able to do the job. She doesn’t need a board room of old men pandering to her. Plus, college ball has probably prepared her quite well for the possibility.

  2. Dudettes! You gals got linked by Deadspin, congrats!!!

  3. What about eye black? Can girls wear eye black? I looked at the constitution and amendments 1 through 21, but I just can’t find a damn thing about eye black. Don’t want to be found in violation of strict gender code, but we’ve been equal-opportunity blacking of eyes for over two years now.

    Strong post.

  4. Women can do this job. We may not have the physical abilities to play the game (read; not enough testosterone to build the muscle mass needed to play) but we have the intelligence to understand the complexities of the game. It just makes sense that women should officiate.

  5. you tell em sista! and to top it all off, we’re natural born multi-taskers. so we can keep the peace on the field, keep track of the clock, and keep an eye out on whether he got both feet in bounds…all without breaking a sweat

  6. Hey – thanks for the link back to Girls Can’t WHAT? I just noticed the traffic in my site stats. Just wanted to note that Sarah Thomas was the inspiration for the design you have pictured above. (See this post: I have also modified that design to look more like a football official. Sarah received a complimentary t-shirt.

    Great blog you have here! :)

  7. Hell, yeah!
    How ’bout some Chick Chattin’ with Sarah?

  8. marvelous idea Michelle. We’re on the case!

  9. Big Johnson says:

    what the hell are you girls on crack, woman can’t and will not be ever physically involved in the NFL. Just wait till that broad is on the rag, or someone calls her bitch, whore, or cunt. She’ll go crying in the locker room. I hope she gets the shit knocked out of her. Stay on the sidelines and where your pink little NFL jersey just like Jessica Simpson. As a matter of fact go fetch me a beer.

  10. Hmm…a name like “Big Johnson” makes me think your balls haven’t even dropped yet. I’m right, aren’t I?

  11. Hey Big Johnson,.. Just FYI, it is “wear” not “where”. Like you can ‘wear’ your pants but that doesn’t mean you know ‘where’ your brain is… try looking in the vicinity of your ass. Get your own beer prince charming.

  12. I think Rilla’s summed this up quite nicely…

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