Sports Explosion AZ




Making NFL History

{Ladies first}

Packers-Chargers Game Thursday Night

{August 8th, 2012}

Written By:

“Shannon Eastin is used to being a pioneer, and she’ll make history Thursday night when she becomes the first woman to serve as an official in an NFL game.

“For me, this is my dream coming true. I’m honored that the NFL has chosen to place me in this position. I feel blessed and excited,” she said Tuesday while admitting she’s likely to have some nerves. “I appreciate everybody’s interest in this story.”

Eastin, 42, who’s entering her 17th season as a football official, will serve as a line judge in the Packers-Chargers preseason game in San Diego.

And with the possible exception of the men she’s replacing, Eastin says she’s been received warmly thus far in NFL circles.

“The reaction from players has been amazing. But players have always reacted well — I’m not sure why that is,” said Eastin, who spent the weekend honing her skills at the Seattle Seahawks training camp.

“They joked with me just like I’m one of the guys. I’ve appreciated the players tremendously throughout training camp.”

She said Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald was particularly supportive and “extremely kind” when she visited Cards camp.

Eastin says the message from the players is consistently: ” ‘All eyes are on you. Do a good job. Do us proud.’ Very positive.”

She says coaches have predominantly been “wonderful” throughout her career, though she can’t fully escape chauvinism.

“I’ve had instances where I have had nothing to do with the call at hand, but I’m the one that’s blamed,” she said. “That’s the rare instance where it’s gotta be my fault (just) because I am the woman on the field.”

She admits it comes with the territory.

“Knowing that I am a female in a man’s world, I have always probably put the most pressure on myself, understanding that pretty much everything I do is going to be magnified,” she said. “I know what I signed up for.”

Might her gender even be an advantage?

“Some people say women can even be better because their attention to detail is greater,” she said. “I don’t know about that.”

Eastin, who counts former NFL refs Red Cashion and Jerry Markbreit and the NBA’s Violet Palmer among her influences and mentors, has spent the past four years working in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and became the first crew chief in that league. Her opportunity to break ground in the pro ranks is a byproduct of the ongoing lockout of the NFL’s regular officials, who have been unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.

“I’m gonna work with the NFL as long as they need me,” said Eastin, who was contacted by the league in the offseason after negotiations with veteran officials ground to a halt.

“And should that change, then I’ll pursue going back to college. … I’m not really concerned about that at this point.”

For now, she’s more focused on adapting to the speed of pro players and ensuring she’s mastered the myriad rules that differentiate the NFL from the college level.

Eastin, who lives in Tempe, Ariz., says she’s received mixed feedback from the locked-out officials but felt obligated to pursue the chance to work at the NFL level.

“Hopefully there’s some understanding on their part that this is an opportunity for me,” she said. “I had to do what was in the best interest of myself just as they’re doing what they feel is in the best interest of themselves.”

Eastin is certainly no stranger to maximizing her potential.

In addition to the milestones she’s achieved in her officiating career — which includes stints as a basketball ref in the Southland, Sun Belt and Western Athletic Conferences and being the first woman to work a junior college national championship football game — she became, at age 11, the youngest judo athlete ever accepted to train at the United States Olympic Training Center and earned six national championships.

However she says she’s followed football her entire life.

“As a child I wanted to play football, and my mother said no, so our compromise was judo,” said Eastin.

“Football’s always been in my blood.”

Getty Images

“Replacement referees made their debut at the Hall of Fame preseason game on Sunday, August 5, 2012 and it was obvious they weren’t used to the action. This week though, there will be an even great breakthrough as the first female referee in the history of the NFL will be part of the crew calling the game between the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers on Thursday, August 9, 2012.

Shannon Eastin will indeed be a part of the crew with other replacement referees on Thursday, but it won’t be her first time refereeing a game. Eastin has called a number of college games in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Shannon Eastin will be the first on-field female official for an NFL game in history.
Shannon Eastin will be the first on-field female official for an NFL game in history.
Photo credit:
Getty Images

Eastin though will be the first woman to ever work as an on-field official for an NFL game.

The replacement referees in Sunday night’s game between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals did make a number of mistakes, but they weren’t awful. It is being reported that some players were laughing on the sidelines due to the “ineptitude” of the referees on the field.

If this NFL officials lockout continues then that may be the case as more and more replacement refs are needed. For now, they are doing an adequate enough job, but all the eyes this week will be on Eastin.”

Thank you,


Posted: August 4, 2012 in Newsletter

What sparked your interest in officiating?

My interest was sparked while working basketball camps for Christian Athlete Ministries. I had to officiate games in between coaching my team and really found that I enjoyed it.

How did you get into the sport?

It was very easy to get started. I contacted the Arizona Interscholastic Association, went to their classes and starting working high school basketball and football.

How long have you been reffing?

I have been refereeing  since 1996

What do you look for in prospective reffs?

I look for individuals who have good people skills and are coachable.

Tell us about the mental aspect of officiating? the level of intelligence involved…

To stay focused through a complete game can be a challenge especially when it is not a close game. That is when you have to reach deep to stay in the game, stick with all your pre-snap routines and remind yourself that that everyone deserves your best until the clock runs out. In terms of intelligence. Being book smart will help you with the rules but that is not the most important thing. You can get 100% on every officiating test you take and still not be the best official. It is more about how you communicate and demonstrating a confidence when you step on the field. Common sense can go a long way too!

What advice would you give young women looking to break into the field?

The advice that I would give to anyone that would like to get involved is to prepare yourself to be the very best you can be. You will never be able to control every situation. Focus on the things that you can: things like staying in shape, knowing the rules and  being in the right position on the field.

If you are a women, don’t be afraid of a sport like football. It can be alot of fun. You will meet people that will want to help you and see you be successful. Surround yourself with those type of people and work hard.

News Letter

Posted: August 3, 2012 in Newsletter

8/25/2011 REF PAY
The CAA will have a few schools that will be using ref pay this year. If you are already registered with ref pay, you are all set. If not please go to and register. Right now we do not have a list of which schools will be using it so do not be afraid to ask for payment when arriving at the school. If they say they are using ref pay then you will not get a check on the spot. If you have questions about ref pay then please go to their site and direct your questions to them. Also, there may be a school or two that will tell you you need to fill out a w-9 and they will mail your check. That is okay also. 90% of the schools will still be paying on the spot. Please understand, you will be responsible to contact the schools if you do not receive payment. Thank you!

Shannon Eastin
Director of Officials

Hello all. A couple changes to the flag rules that may not be updated yet posted.

Blocking – Open hand blocking only, no arm extension. Talk to players and remind them. Please don’t flag it everytime you see it.  If players get knocked down however, you will have to call it.

Eligible’s – Only the 3  players without flags are not eligible, everyone else is regardless of the formation.

Pass Interference
– If flag is pulled before ball arrives and pass is incomplete, the ball with be placed at the spot of the foul. If the pass is caught it is to be blown dead and 10 yards is to be tacked on. Thinking being the receiver could have gained yards after the catch.
That is all for now. Please make sure everyone has a copy of the flags rules with them at all times. Thank you!

8/19/2011 C.A.A. tackle games

We will not follow the AIA helmet rule.
However… referees and umpires,  please inform the coach before the game that if you see a helmet come off the same player a second time, you will ask him to go to the sideline and get it fixed.

Referee Application

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Sports Officiating

Click Referee to fill out the application !

Looking for an Officials Registration Form ?

Look NO MORE !