Sunday's 23-16 Divisional Round win over the Steelers was meaningful for Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on a different level.
He received the game ball so he could give it to his mother, Katina Smith, who was in attendance. It was the first time she had ever seen her son play an NFL game in person.
Smith was jailed in 2000, but was pardoned by President Obama along with dozens of other nonviolent drug offenders last year. The conditions associated with her release made Sunday's game the first game she could attend.
"It's very special," Thomas said, via ESPN.com. "She came out, got to see us win a game, her first time here, her first time seeing me play. It felt great, a really special feeling."
After a few more questions, he made it clear he was done talking about the subject. He had a special guest to see.
"My mom is right outside that door," he said. "Y'all are killing me."
There are moments that often transcend the importance of a game, and there is no way to accurately describe how Thomas was feeling at that moment. In an in-depth piece for The Player's Tribune, Thomas wrote about the horrifying sight of seeing Smith arrested. He talked about the loneliness, especially with his father away on military leave.
There is no way four catches for 40 yards ever felt so good.