Female Official Makes History

Shannon Eastin (Jake Roth/USP)

Shannon Eastin had a smooth night as she became the first female to officiate an NFL game. Eastin was a line judge in the Packers' preseason game at San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — Shannon Eastin made history.

Eastin became the first woman to officiate an NFL game, serving as the line judge in the San Diego Chargers' 21-13 preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

The preseason opener for both teams was predictably sloppy at times, filled with fumbles, interceptions and missed assignments.

Philip Rivers had a touchdown, an interception and a fumble in limited action for the Chargers (No. 16 in the AP Pro32). Rookie Jarrett Lee got most of the snaps, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown.

Aaron Rodgers had an interception and a fumble in three series for the Packers (No. 1).

Eastin turned it into a history-making event merely with her presence.

Among a group of replacement officials working games while the regular refs are locked out, Eastin was dwarfed by the players on San Diego's sideline in the first half and Green Bay's sideline in the second half, and had a camera following her every move before the game.

A 16-year officiating veteran, she seemed at ease with the spotlight, staying steady among the giants and the national spotlight. Chargers tackle Jeromey Clary and linebacker Antwan Barnes each sought her out just before the opening kickoff, shaking her hand and saying a few words.

Now, Eastin's game cap is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after her first NFL game.

Replacement officials are working games for the first time in 11 years and have 16 this weekend, including six Thursday night. There have been some shaky moments.

The crew working the Hall of Fame game last Sunday had mixed reviews and fans in Buffalo booed replacement officials Thursday night after they muffed a touchback call in a game against Washington.

"I mean, hey, I didn't spend a whole lot of time (watching the officials)," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's their first game; it's our first game. I would have to say it would be safe (to say) we all have a lot of work to do. I was focused on the Packers. I thought they communicated well before the game. I thought the game flowed — that's what you look for — but I'm sure there's things that they can learn fromit because I know there's a lot of things we can learn from it.

Eastin didn't seem to have any trouble in her first NFL game.

The 42-year-old from Tempe, Ariz., is a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, college football's second-highest level, and owns a company that trains basketball and football officials.

Wearing No. 27 on the back of her official's uniform, Eastin wasn't involved in many calls until flagging San Diego's Patrick Doyle for holding in the third quarter. She heard a few boos from the hometown crowd in the fourth period on a pass interference call on Chargers safety Corey Lynch - she appeared to get it right - and signaled touchdown when Green Bay's Marc Tyler scored on a 1-yard run. Green Bay failed on the 2-point conversion, keeping the Chargers up 14-13.

Eastin signaled TD again when Brinkley scored later, but had a relatively quiet night overall, which, in the world of officiating, can be a good thing.


Follow Associated Press writer Chris Jenkins on Twitter at twitter.com/ByChrisJenkins.

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