Patty Thompson said her son, Shaq, "did what he needed to do" to win Sunday's game and make it to the Super Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers linebacker is a graduate of Grant Union High School, where he played football.
Mom said she's trying to keep it real, looking at the Super Bowl as just another game.
With an older son, Syd'Quan Thompson, who played for the Broncos, she said she knew early on, in middle school, that Shaq was destined for great things, as well.
"I knew then that the way that he was progressing... there had to be something a little more to him," she said.
She also helps keep her 21-year-old son grounded, despite the early success, by texting or calling and giving motherly advise and critiquing his play.
"Shaq, you missed that tackle. Shaq, you gotta do a little better. Shaq... your elbows look ashy. Don't let yourself be on live TV," mom said with a chuckle.
And aside from getting family to post baby pictures of Shaq to help keep him humble, she shared a little secret about this tough Panther linebacker.
"You know he's a mama's boy, the kind that'll sit and cuddle with you and watch TV," she said.
Patty raised her four boys as a single mom in Del Paso Heights with lots of love and plenty of discipline.
"They had to be accountable for the things that they do. And the way you treat people is the way you want to be treated," she said.
Despite being a Green Bay Packers fan, she'll be at Levi's Stadium with her boys, decked out in Panthers gear to cheer Shaq on.
But as he continues to practice for game day, family wanted him to know this:
"Go Panthers, man. We've been dreaming about this. Just go out there and make it happen now," brother Ricky Thompson said.
"I got your back. Good or bad, win or lose. But I'm looking at you to win. So tell Cam to be chewing the right gun, and mama's gonna be there. Love you Shaq," his mother added.