Officiating crews and the National Football League are in a lockout and still trying to work out contract disputes right now. But, the games will go on. Replacement referees are already being used and those replacement may see work in the regular season if no deal is made.

The good news, that this labor dispute has led to history being made Thursday night when the San Diego Chargers play the Green Bay Packers. Shannon Eastin will be part of the officiating crew and be the first ever female to officiate an NFL game.

According to the USA Today, Eastin is a veteran of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and has reffed football games for 16 years. She’ll be a line judge in Thursday night’s game.

You can see her in the televised preseason game Thursday night at 6PM in ESPN.

Kudos to Eastin, I hope she does great.

I am worried that the media will make ‘too much’ of  the first female official. Every mistake she does make will be amplified and I’m sure some people will jump on the “NFL-is-just-pulling-a-publicity-stunt-with-this-girl-thing” wagon.

But I am assuming whoever hired her for their crew, hired her because she is, in fact, great at what she does and not just because she’s a woman.

And, at very least, it gives us a reason to care about the preseason game after halftime.



Picture by Brandon Giesbrecht, Flickr.