Patriots

Sarah Thomas will be first woman to officiate NFL playoff game in Patriots-Chargers

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Sarah Thomas will be first woman to officiate NFL playoff game in Patriots-Chargers

History will be made Sunday when Sarah Thomas becomes the first woman to be part of an NFL officiating crew for a playoff game.

Thomas will be a down judge in Ron Torbert's officiating crew for Sunday's AFC divisional round matchup between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers at Gillette Stadium.

She's in her fourth season as an NFL official, and was among the alternates for last season's NFC wild card game between the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams.

Here's the complete crew for Sunday's game. Football Zebras was the first to report the officiating crew for Patriots-Chargers.

Referee: Ron Torbert
Umpire: Rich Hall
Down judge: Sarah Thomas
Line judge: Mark Steinkerchner 
Field judge: Brad Rogers 
Side judge: Scott Roberts
Back judge: Dino Paganelli

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What Tom Brady texted Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of Super Bowl Week

What Tom Brady texted Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of Super Bowl Week

For the the first time in his career, Jimmy Garoppolo will serve as a starter in the Super Bowl.

That's not to say that the former New England Patriots quarterback doesn't have experience with the Super Bowl. He earned two rings as the backup to Tom Brady during his time in New England. But now, he'll get a chance to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a title when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

And ahead of the game, it seems that Jimmy G is taking some advice from Brady.

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As Garoppolo told NFL Network's Michael Irvin at Super Bowl Opening Night, Brady did text Garoppolo some words of encouragement ahead of the big week.

"Yeah, he shot me a text," Garoppolo said. "Just good luck and everything like that. Go handle business. It wasn't anything complicated. It was just, 'Go handle business. Go win.'"

That sounds very much like something Brady would say. It's a page from the Patriots playbook. Stay focused, keep it simple, do your job.

We'll soon see if Garoppolo and the 49ers can execute and do their jobs when they take on the Chiefs in Sunday's Super Bowl.

Click here to listen and subscribe to Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: 

Patriots Talk Podcast: Jacoby Brissett on sharing a QB room with Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: Jacoby Brissett on sharing a QB room with Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo

The New England Patriots once had a quarterback group featuring Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett. All three were starters this past season in the NFL and one will be playing in the Super Bowl.

And as all New England fans know, it isn't Brady.

Yes, in 2020, Garoppolo will get his first crack as a Super Bowl starter when his San Francisco 49ers take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Miami. Garoppolo already has two rings as a backup for the Patriots, but he now will get a chance to earn one himself.

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Ahead of Garoppolo's biggest matchup, Tom E. Curran caught up his former teammate, Brissett, to discuss Garoppolo's success with the 49ers.

Click here to listen and subscribe to Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: 

And when Curran asked Brissett point-blank if he was proud of Garoppolo, Brissett didn't hesitate to answer. 

No question. You know, just to see, like, where he was ... I mean, we were together what, three years ago? But the relationship has carried throughout and just to see how far he's come because I know some of the things he's been through. Last year, he tears his ACL. And this year, he's in the Super Bowl. It's no shock when you watch him work and go about his business and when you watch him on the field.

And why is Garoppolo finding so much success? It's hard to explain, says Brissett.

It's hard to explain. It's just Jimmy. He just somehow finds a way. I remember when we were getting ready for Arizona and he went out there and balled. And it was just like, yeah that looks right.

A lot about Garoppolo's play "looked right" during his time with the Patriots, and that's part of the reason that Bill Belichick was so reluctant to trade him. But ultimately, the deal was completed and now, Garoppolo is going to get a chance to win a title with his new team.

For more of Curran's interview with Brissett including Brissett's thoughts on sharing a QB room with Brady and Garoppolo as well as Curran and Phil Perry's thoughts on the 20th anniversary of Belichick's hiring,  check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.