Monday, September 10, 2012

NFL Official Shannon Eastin Makes History Again

Because of the ongoing NFL officials lockout, an opportunity door was opened for others to get the chance to show what they could do at the professional officiating level.  

Many of those locked out officials of the NFL Referees Association have decades of experience doing NFL and BCS collegiate football games, and it isn't easy to become one. 

For those of you who had the opportunity to watch the St. Louis Rams-Detroit Lions game yesterday, you got to witness a little sports history in addition to the thrilling 27-23 game the Lions eventually pulled out.

When Shannon Eastin stepped onto the turf at Detroit's Ford Field yesterday she became the first woman ever to work as a official in an NFL regular season game when she served as a line judge   

It's also interesting to note this groundbreaking NFL moment happened during the 40th anniversary year of the passage of Title IX   

The Tempe, AZ resident already made history last month when she became the first female official to work an NFL preseason game.  Eastin served as the line judge during the Green Bay Packers-San Diego Chargers game in San Diego as well. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH already has the hat and whistle she used during that historic preseason game, and I don't doubt they probably asked for the cap and whistle she used during yesterday's Rams-Lions game for a future display, too.   She has worked as a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and has 16 years of officiating experience.

MEAC officials declined comment on Eastin, and the NFL declined to make Eastin available for interviews during the week leading up to the historic game.   They also didn't allow media access to her following the Rams-Lions game, but did set up a conference call with her in August.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said having Eastin on the field is a great opportunity for her and the league.  "She's well prepared for it, and I think she'll do terrific," Goodell said in an interview last month. "So we're excited about that"  

"And there are more coming, by the way. We've been working along this path to try to properly train and prepare a female official, and now we have the opportunity."

Eastin said during last month's conference call, "I hope to show it really doesn't matter if you are male or female."

The only way it matters is in terms of inspiring others to join you in the officiating ranks as you were inspired by longtime NBA official Violet Palmer 

Congratulations on making NFL and sports history again.

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