Down judge Sarah Thomas, 45, first female to work playoff game
Sarah Thomas became the first woman to work an NFL playoff game as an on-field official.
Thomas was the down judge in Sunday’s AFC divisional round game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Thomas, a 45-year-old married mother of three, was hired in 2015 and was already the league’s first female full-time official.
Terri Valenti was the replay official in Saturday’s playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Missouri, also a first.
Player’s daughter remembered: The daughter of Chargers defensive lineman Brandon Mebane was remembered before Los Angeles’ playoff game against New England.
The Patriots asked fans to stand and observe a moment of silence for Makenna Mebane, who died Jan. 3 at the age of 7 weeks. She was born with a rare genetic condition known as Trisomy 13 that causes delays in development and affects several organs.
Brandon Mebane had missed five of the past seven games, including last week’s wild-card win at Baltimore, to be with his family. He played in Sunday’s game, registering six tackles, five of them solo.
Good Samaritan rewarded: Chiefs offensive lineman Jeff Allen thanked the man who helped pull his vehicle out of the snow with tickets to next week’s AFC Championship game.
Allen said he got stuck on the way to
Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday because of the snow, but he made it in time for the Chiefs’ victory over the Colts because of the Good Samaritan.
The man who helped Allen didn’t know he was a Chiefs player at the time.
Allen turned to Twitter to track down the man who helped him because he lost his phone number, but within a few hours they connected on Sunday morning.
No interlopers: For the first time since 2015 — Denver, New England, Carolina and Arizona — the top two seeds in both conferences advanced to the AFC/NFC title games.
Injury report: Of the four teams advancing to the two conference title games, the New Orleans Saints reported the most significant injury, with defensive tackle Sheldon Ranking going down midway in the first half of an
NFC divisional round victory Sunday against Philadelphia, unable to put any weight on his left foot. Rankins, a 2016 first-round draft choice, entered the game second on the Saints with eight sacks.
Meanwhile, Patriots guard Shaq Mason left Sunday’s AFC win over the Chargers in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Neither the Chiefs nor the Rams, winners in Saturday’s AFC and NFC games, respectively, reported notable injuries.