It's a first in an NFL exhibition game: a female on the officiating crew. It's actually a first in any professional football game.

This Thursday, not only will you get to see an exhibition game between the Greenbay Packers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, but you willl see a woman on the field. Not as a sideline reporter nor a cheerleader, but as an essential part of the game calling the shots.

Her name is Shannon Eastin and she will be part of the replacement crew, as NFL officials have yet to come to terms on a collective-bargaining agreement. As a result they were locked out in June. The last time this happened with the NFL's officials was in 2001.

But this isn't the only reason Shannon Eastin, has the opportunity. She has experience under her belt and reason to be out there. As a Arizona native, she comes from a background of sports and has been a referee at many high schools and small college-conferences. She is in her 17th season as a football official and currently a referee from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The past four seasons she has been a part of the Football Championship Subdivision level (formerly known as Division I-AA).

There will be other officials coming from the college ranks, Eastin just happens to be the only female one.

As far as the game between the Packers and Chargers -- a win for the woman in stripes!



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