Two weeks ago, it was but a mere possibility. In three days, it will become reality and a landmark moment in American football.
As Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times confirmed, Shannon Eastin will work Thursday night’s preseason contest between the Packers and Chargers, becoming the first on-field female referee in NFL history.
Eastin previously worked Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games, and in 2009 was the first woman to officiate a Florida A&M game.
She is part of the replacement crew currently overseeing zebra duties while the league remains at large — and in talks — with its officials and the union. During Sunday night’s Hall of Fame game, several replacements made their grand debut and avoided any catastrophe — an encouraging sign.
Eastin is qualified for the job and should handle her responsibilities quite well. If anything else, it’s a noteworthy personal accomplishment and could open some doors in the future of professional sports.