Local female sports pioneer makes NFL debut

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- Tempe resident Shannon Eastin is a sports pioneer.

She is living her dream, and will be making history Thursday night in San Diego when the Chargers take on the Green Bay Packers. Eastin will serve as the NFL's first ever female referee working as a line judge.

Despite her 17 years as a college and high school football official, Eastin admits to being a little nervous.
“Knowing I’m a female in a male’s world I’ve always put the most pressure on myself knowing everything I do will be magnified,” said Eastin. “I'm going to work even harder to show I am capable and right where I should be.”
Eastin's opportunity comes as a result of the ongoing lockout of the NFL's regular officials. While she admits to receiving some negative feedback, she says serving as a replacement was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.
“It was an opportunity for me to get in and show I’m capable. Plus the NFL was on the verge, there’s been a lot of talk about bringing in a female, I thought this was the perfect opportunity,” said Eastin.

Eastin says many coaches and players have been supportive.

“Larry Fitzgerald was extremely kind, really stood out, and had kind things to say," Eastin remarked.
Eastin would like to think she will go unnoticed on the field Thursday night, but is well aware everyone will be watching as her NFL dream comes true.
“I have moments I can't believe it. I get a little teary eyed, I just really want to do a good job," Eastin stated.