Pascagoula native Sarah Thomas, the NFL's first female official, called her first Monday Night Football game, and had a role in the game's biggest play.
Thomas was the side judge who gave the touchdown signal when Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell barely got the ball across the goal line on the final play of the game in a 24-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
The play was immediately reviewed and veteran referee Pete Morelli announced that the call would stand, handing the dramatic victory to the Steelers.
With 5 seconds left on the clock, Bell took the direct snap and worked his way through the left side of the line to reach the ball across the line. Bell narrowly missed having his knee hit the ground before crossing the goal line, but his knee rested on the arm of a defensive player, allowing him to break the plane of the goal line.
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The play was reviewed extensively on ESPN and both play-by-play man Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden agreed that Thomas had made the correct call.
Fox analyst Mike Pereira, a former NFL referee, gave Thomas a tip of the hat at the conclusion of the game.
Going to sign off. Do need to give kudos to Sarah Thomas for getting the call right at the end. She has stood up to the challenge. See ya— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 13, 2015