The National Football League has done it again – having another first. #SarahThomas will officiate the #NFLplayoff game. You may recall she was hired as a line judge for the 2015 season. She has a number of firsts: the first woman to work college games in 2007, first female official on the FBS level and the first to officiate a bowl game.
Of course, being first is nothing new for the NFL. You may recall Patricia "Pat" Palinkas who was a placekick holder and Katie Hnida who was a kicker. They were to first two female professional football players in a men's league. Then there is Jennifer Welter, the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a men's professional league. Georgia Frontiere was the owner of the NFL Rams for three decades and the first woman to take control of a league franchise. Shannon Eastin was the first woman to work regular-season NFL games in 2012 as a replacement official. Michael Alan Sam, Jr. was the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He was drafted by the Rams in 2014.
Apparently, there is no truth to the rumor that the NFL is considering some new rules because of Sarah's officiating. Here is a list of some of the alleged rule changes and the visual signals that might have been used:
1. Illegal Touching of the Groin on National TV – The referee would signal this by grabbing the crotch followed by making a cutting motion with the first two fingers on the right hand.
2. Awkward Forward Pass – This rule is against players making a pass at the referee – the hand signal for this violation is a passing motion followed by a thumbs down.
3. Wrong Sport Violation – This rule prohibits players in football from trying to get to first base with the referee – The hand and arm signal for this violation is holding up one finger followed by crossing the forearms.
4. Illegal Hugging – This is very similar to holding but more personal – The hand and arm signal is for the referee to hug her/himself followed by a wagging finger.
5. Public Display of Affection (PDA) – This rule is long overdue. Many players have been observed in public displays to wives, girlfriends and deities. In some case these are one and the same. The hand and arm signal is a blowing of a kiss toward the offender.
6. Excessive Showing Off – This violation is called against players who posture or pose to try and impress the referee – The hand and arm signal is for the referee to point at the offender and stick out her/his tongue.
What can we expect next from the NFL? Now that the glass goal line has been crossed, the shoulder pads are ready for more women. I know several women who could easily play on the front line. They may tip the scales at 300 pounds. I predict that we will soon many professional athletes coming out of closets. I think the NFL is ready for transsexuals, cross-dressers and closet Republicans. Of course, Joe Namath is still the first to wear panty hose in 1974.