Against the odds, wife and mom of 3 now NFL referee

Sarah Thomas "honored" to be first full-time ... 02:21

If there is one thing more difficult than breaking into the NFL as a player, it's breaking in as an official. There are only 119. And breaking in as a woman? Impossible. Until today's announcement.

As a happily married mother of three, Sarah Thomas has experienced plenty of unforgettable life moments. The last one, just last week.

It came Thursday morning, April 2 at 10:47 a.m., when Thomas was told she'd become the first full-time female official in the 95-year history of the National Football League.

She's said she never set out to be first, but she is.

Sarah Thomas is the first woman hired by the NFL as a full-time referee. CBS News

"I've always said that if you do something because you love it and not try to prove somebody wrong or get recognition for it, the recognition probably is just going to happen.

Between the kids -- ages 14, 11 and 2 -- and her work as a pharmaceutical sales rep, NFL officiating effectively becomes Thomas' third full-time job. The league has put her to work already.

The NFL had a bad year in 2014. Domestic violence cases. Violence against women. Dean Blandino, the league's head of officiating, was asked how much of Thomas' hiring is a response to that.

NFL's Roger Goodell answers questions on a "t... 02:09

"This isn't a reaction to that," he said. "Sarah, when you look at her story and her journey, she's been officiating for 20 years. She's been on our radar since 2007, so this isn't an overnight sensation."

A former college basketball standout, Thomas tucks her blond ponytail under her cap when she is on the football field. She says to "blend in." The only place she wants to stand out? When she's trying to stay on top of the ever-changing list of NFL rules.

"You don't watch the game as a fan anymore," said Thomas. "You need to pick up every little thing you can."

So when she's watching with her husband and her kids now, is she educating them? "If they ask," she said.

But do they ask? "At times. And he might not agree with me."

Who wins those arguments?

"I do," she said.

NFL players and coaches, you've been warned.