Sarah Thomas, an American football official, has seen a litany of football firsts.
She was the first woman to referee a major college football game, the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium and the first to officiate a bowl game.
On Sunday, she'll become the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game as the Patriots and Chargers face off in the AFC divisional playoff.
Women comprise roughly half the NFL's fan base, make up about a third of fantasy sports players and are integral to league growth. Female viewership increased by 26 percent from 2009 to 2013, while male viewership increased by 18 percent, according to data from Ebiquity.