(Photo by Andrew Hancock / XFL)

So did you notice the new XFL pro football league that debuted this past weekend is
featuring women officials? The league has 7 female officials including those also in the
replay booth. Every XFL officiating crew will have at least one woman.

The real pioneer was Sarah Thomas who is the first female NFL official.
For the XFL it is Amanda Sauer-Cook who is also the first openly gay official to
work in a major national professional sports league. She started in high school and then became
the first woman to be a Referee in a Division I college football game when she led the crew in 2017
In the Rutgers vs. Morgan State game.

Like most younger officials, Amanda aspires to one day be an NFL official.
“Any college official would say the same,” she says. In 2017, she worked in the NFL
Officiating Development Program.

The ODP began in 2012 as a way to develop promising college officials by
having them work with NFL officials in training camps and preseason practices, with
a few lucky ones getting a preseason game. The NFL has hired exclusively from
ODP participants since it was launched, which included Sarah Thomas.

As Amanda Sauer-Cook said,“Women can do it just as well as men can. Half of the
viewing population of football is women, so we know the sport, and they should be
encouraged to participate — maybe that includes them being an official.”

There is a severe shortage of football officials at all levels so why not add women.
We’re used to having them tell us what to do anyway!

— Chris Lincoln, Feb. 12, 2020