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Bridley Thomas watches mom Sarah become first women to officiate a Super Bowl

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 11:42 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - One of the biggest storylines heading into Super Bowl LV was that a female would serve as one of the game’s eight referees. The female was Sarah Thomas, a native of Mississippi who made history as the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.

Thomas has spent her entire 25-year career breaking barriers. She rose through the ranks as a college football official before becoming the NFL’s first permanent female official in 2015. Four years later, Thomas became the first woman to ref an NFL playoff game when the New England Patriots faced the Los Angeles Chargers.

It was only a matter of time before Thomas achieved the next milestone in her career: Working a Super Bowl. When Thomas found out she had been selected to officiate this year’s Super Bowl the first person she called was her oldest child Bridley, a freshman on Meridian Community College’s baseball team.

“She had called me three times and I missed all three calls because I was at practice,” Bridley said. “I called her back and she finally told me then. It didn’t really sit with me until I got to my dorm room and saw all the posts about it on social media.”

Bridley and the rest of his family, including his siblings Brady and Bailey, attended Super Bowl LV to cheer on their mom as she broke another barrier for women in sports.

“ESPN put out a video of her blowing a kiss to the stands and she was actually directing that towards us,” Bridley said. “For her to be able to not think about the game and just know who she’s doing it for and what she’s doing it for is just big.”

Thomas has inspired many to do what they love no matter what obstacles may stand in the way. She has followed her passion while also being a mother to Bridley and his two siblings.

As Bridley pursues his passion of playing baseball at MCC, he is using what his mom has achieved as inspiration to now follow his dreams.

“She’s always been told ‘You’ll never make it’ and this type of stuff but she just continues to push through it day in and day out. I kinda carry that over to the baseball field,” Bridley said. “Maybe some days I don’t want to be out here and it’s not my day to practice but I just know this is what I have a dream for and this is what I want to do when I get older. She’s obviously taught me that and told me to keep striving every day.”

Bridley said his mom hasn’t hinted at all at retirement and hopes to keep officiating more Super Bowls in the near future.

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