Pascagoula native becomes first female to officiate NFL game

Pascagoula native becomes first female to officiate NFL game
Friends showing support the day of the big game. (Photo Source: Maggie Emerson)
Friends showing support the day of the big game. (Photo Source: Maggie Emerson)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - In a day and age where women continue to break the mold and prove that they can do anything, one Pascagoula native is living her dream.

On September 13, Sarah Bailey Thomas became the first female to referee a regular season NFL game.

Most people gathered at the NRG Stadium in Texas to watch their favorite team, but Thomas' best friend Sharon Carter, and Carter's daughter Maggie made the trip to show their support for the history making ref's first game.

"It wouldn't have mattered if her first regular season game was in Washington or in New York, we would have been there to support her," said Maggie Emerson.

According to ESPN, Thomas got her start officiating high school games in 2007, but on April 2, 2015, she received the promotion of a lifetime — the NFL. Though the NBA has been ahead of the game when it comes to women referees, the football league is catching up — bringing South Mississippi with them.

"Today was a major day in history for not only all women in general, but for Pascagoula and South Mississippi to shine for having had a part in where Sarah was brought up, and where her parents still reside," said Emerson.

Emerson told WLOX that she and her family are proud of Thomas' accomplishments.

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