The ongoing squabble between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association could lead to some interesting officiating during the first week of the football season. There is a bright side to having replacement refs on the field, however, as Shannon Eastin will make NFL history today as she becomes the first woman to officiate a regular season game.
Eastin became the first woman to officiate a pre-season game last month when she served as a line judge during the San Diego Chargers / Green Bay Packers game. Eastin will work as a line judge again today during the St. Louis Rams / Detroit Lions game.
The Washington Post reports that Eastin, 42, has 16 years of officiating experience. She’s worked in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the second highest level of college football, and when the NFL and the Ref’s Association couldn’t reach an agreement before the pre-season Eastin got called up to the pros.
Before Eastin’s first pre-season game NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said:
“She’s well prepared for it, and I think she’ll do terrific… 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.”
But Eastin’s history making debut does come among some controversy. The replacement refs had a rough pre-season and several players have said that they were worried about playing a regular season game with inexperienced refs on the field.
“I would be concerned if it went into the regular season…. It’s just like on a team if you said ‘hey, we’re going to put five rookies in front of you and a bunch of first-year players catching the ball and running the ball. You just don’t have the same level of trust and confidence.”
Do you think Shannon Eastin and the rest of the replacement refs will do a good job during the first week of the NFL season?