Eastin Gets NFL Referee Post

Charles E. Sutton | 8/14/2012, 10:21 a.m.

First Female to Officiate NFL Game

The National Football League has broken down another barrier. On Aug. 9 in San Diego, Shannon Eastin became the first woman to officiate an NFL game.

Eastin broke through the NFL's on-field gender barrier, serving as a line judge for a seven-person crew calling the San Diego Chargers' 21-13 preseason win over the Green Bay Packers.

As she lined up in front of San Diego's sideline, she was clearly dwarfed by the size of the players, and a camera followed nearly every move she made before the game. Eastin wore No. 27 on the back of her official's uniform.

The 42-year-old from Tempe, Az., seemed quite comfortable in the spotlight, and even had a couple of players shake her hand just before the opening kickoff. Eastin is a 16-year veteran of officiating, and is a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, college football's second highest level. She got her NFL opportunity as a replacement official. Eastin is amongst a group taking the place of the regular referees, who are currently locked out.

As a result of her work on Thursday night, she'll have a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At a minimum, the cap she wore Thursday night, and perhaps her entire uniform, is headed to Canton.

Meawhile during the game, Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers threw a touchdown, an interception and fumbled in limited action. Rookie Jarrett Lee took the majority of the snaps, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown.