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Sarah Thomas Shatters NFL Glass Ceiling (We Can’t Wait to Cheer Her On!)

Written on August 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by

Look how fierce! Imagine making a call against one of those guys? Standing next them is scary enough… (Photo courtesy of the AP/The Advocate, Eliot Kamenitz)

Sarah Thomas is about to tackle some major gender barriers, evening one of America’s biggest playing fields—football. The 39-year-old Brandon, Mississippi resident and mother of three is set to make history as the first permanent female ref hopeful in the NFL this upcoming season. You go, girl!

Discovered by a scout after working her way up from peewee to college-level (she was the first female to officiate an NCAA game in 2007), Thomas is currently one of the 21 official finalists in the NFL’s higher-level training pool. Oh, and did we mention she has a full-time job in pharmaceutical sales? Plus a 7-month-old? No big deal.

The mentally demanding career is not all about snap judgments or pros/fans not approving your calls (insert obnoxious booing and trash talk here)—it’s also physical! Referees have to be fit so they can keep up with the players, plus agile enough to get out of a quick running back’s (or scary linebacker’s!) way. Not a problem for Thomas. According to The New York Times, she was the first athlete at her high school to letter five times in a sport (softball) and went onto the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship.

Confidence is another one of Thomas’ strong (striped) suits, according to the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino. Being a woman doesn’t make her any less qualified or capable to officiate in her eyes. “I don’t feel that it’s been harder for me because I’m a female,” she told ABC News. The only time she ever felt out of place? When she sported her uniform during her pregnancy. “The spouses of my crew made me a maternity referee shirt,” Thomas told The Times in 2009.

Thomas did not set out to break a glass ceiling; she just followed her love of the game. And for that, we applaud Thomas and wish her nothing but the best of luck. Talk about girl power if she makes the cut! As she told Bloomberg last month, “If you’re doing things because you love them, then things have a tendency to just kind of fall into place.”

Now you tell us: What are your thoughts on Sarah Thomas becoming the first female NFL referee?

Ditch the Parking Lot: How to Bring Tailgating Into Your Home!

Written on December 22, 2012 at 10:38 am , by

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

Homegating [verb]: Bringing the spirit of football games into the comfort of your own home.

That’s exactly how we would describe what happened  when actress and singer Holly Robinson Peete invited us to the NFL homegating kickoff here in New York City. Along with celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel, who whipped up some of his favorite game day bites, we experienced the art of homegating first hand. It just may become a new tradition for some of our staffers!

How exactly does homegating work? It’s simple: if you love the spirit that surrounds tailgating, but want to ditch the unpredictable weather or can’t always afford to hit up a game, homegating is a fun alternative. Invite some pals over, decorate the house in team décor and serve the foods you’d see cooked up at your typical tailgate.

“Our fans have an incredible passion and we are pleased to bring them more ways to connect with the game and each other,” says Tracey Bleczinski, NFL’s vice president of consumer products.

Forget tailgating in the cold, crazy weather. It’s time to bring team spirit back home this season (Photo courtesy of NFL).

To find out more about how to bring a little health to the fan-friendly fun, we sat down with Peete and learned about her own family’s homegating routine. Check out the secrets this NFL wife (she’s married to former Panthers quarterback Rodney Peete) practices below!

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The Colts’ Lucky Star: Rookie Andrew Luck Prepped and Ready for the Season

Written on September 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm , by

Andrew enjoyed Quaker oatmeal with local children Tuesday, as he helped launch the NFL PLAY 60 Super Bowl Contest. (Photo courtesy of AJ Mast /AP Images for Quaker)

Are you ready for some football? If so, you’re in luck because the season kicks off this week! Speaking of “luck,” regardless of whether you have a killer lineup set for your Fantasy league or are forced to tune in because of your significant other (hey, those tight pants aren’t that bad on the eyes!), one name that should certainly sound familiar is Andrew Luck.

The 22-year-old Heisman runner-up was taken first overall in April’s 2012 NFL draft and has quickly but efficiently shifted from Stanford student to a pro as the Indianapolis Colt’s starting quarterback. We caught up with Andrew to get the dirt on preparing for the season, what it has been like making the leap from college to the NFL and more! Here’s what we learned:

Playbook vs. “real” book smart. It’s important for any player on the field to have football intelligence, but playing smart is imperative for the quarterback while calling plays to gain yardage. Andrew has the brains—he was the valedictorian of his high school’s 2008 class and recently earned his undergraduate degree architectural design—to match his athleticism. “Learning a new playbook has been a learning process but it’s going in the right direction,” he said. For his first in-season game against the Chicago Bears, Andrew has been fully immersing himself in the opponent’s defense, analyzing and developing strategies that will put his team in the best possible position come game day. Read more