NFL line judge Shannon Eastin takes the field before the start of a preseason… (Denis Poroy / Associated…)
SAN DIEGO — Mighty asterisks hang over Shannon Eastin's claim as the NFL's first female official, but history was recorded Thursday night by the rookie line judge who worked the Green Bay Packers-San Diego Chargers exhibition.
Yes, it was preseason, and, yes, Eastin's stay as a replacement official ends whenever locked-out regulars and the NFL reach a deal.
But on a night when replacements in the Washington Redskins-Buffalo Bills game were booed for missed touchback and pass-interference calls, Eastin and her crew, led by referee Donovan Briggans, performed respectably.
Eastin, 42, made a significant fourth-quarter call that replays justified, flagging San Diego cornerback Greg Gatson for pass interference because he ran into Green Bay receiver Dale Moss, giving the Packers a first down at San Diego's 25-yard line.
The Packers went on to score with 11 minutes 21 seconds remaining, but San Diego won, 21-13, with Eastin raising her arms at the goal line to confirm the Chargers' final touchdown.
Seconds later, she signaled Chargers' possession when Green Bay running back Marc Tyler, an undrafted rookie from USC, lost a fumble.
In the third quarter, Eastin threw a penalty flag on a punt return, then was required to quickly intervene to calm a post-play confrontation between Gatson and three Packers. As the hostility ended, she signaled an illegal-formation penalty against the Chargers, the fourth of five flags she threw.
Eastin was responsible for keeping the official time at the sideline, lining up even with the line of scrimmage to monitor any potential missteps and marking where forward progress ended.