Sarah Thomas became the first full-time female official in NFL history and made history on Sept. 13, 2015 she made her professional officiating debut in a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.
Thomas' presence as an authority figure on the football field is something she probably couldn't have predicted as she hated referees during her youth.
In a profile on Thomas by SB Nation, Charlotte Wilder wrote: "As a highly competitive high school and college basketball player, the Mississippi native would get heated over calls that she disagreed with, though she knew how to butter up the officials when she needed to."
Now, Thomas is one of the most recognizable referees in all of professional sports.
Throughout her career as an official which began in 1996, Thomas has worked on officiating crews for Conference USA football, FBS bowl games, NFL games since 2015, and she became the first woman to officiate a game in a Big Ten stadium when she served as a line judge for a Northwestern-Rice matchup at Ryan Field.
“As women, the way we carry ourselves speaks a lot," Thomas told SB Nation's Wilder. "Field presence is what they talk about. But you can still be a woman, you can be attractive, and whatever way you carry yourself speaks volumes to the reception. A man may feel as if may he can have his way or whatever, but I just think that when we carry ourselves with confidence, and walk into a room with confidence, the atmosphere kind of changes.”
To read more about Thomas' fascinating story on how she became a referee, check out Wilder's full story at SB Nation.