The Los Angeles Times reports that Sarah Thomas will be the first female official in the NFL. According to the Times, she is one of eight new officials and will begin in the 2015 season.
The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson first broke the news on Twitter, but there has not yet been an official announcement from the league. An additional source confirmed Wilson's statement to the Times. The same source also claims the NFL has "informed current officials that seven men and one woman have been selected as new hires for this season, contingent on them taking physical examinations."
Thomas has been officiating football games for over 17 years at the collegiate level. She joined the league's Officiating Development Program in 2014 and is one of two female members in the program. When she joined the program, NFL vice president Dean Blandino told Bleacher Report that Thomas was a natural. “One of the things we look for in young officials is, are they intimidated on the field? She is not. She has all the characteristics we want in an official,” he told the sports site.
When asked if she was ever intimidated by men on the field, Thomas told Cleveland.com back in 2014: “I like it when I leave the field and people go, ‘I told you that was a girl.’"