The NFL made history today with the hiring of Maia Chaka as a game official. She will be the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game, and only the second woman to do so.
“It didn’t really hit me until just now,” Chaka told Today on Friday. “When I saw the introduction, I’m like, ‘This is really real,’ because this is just something that we’re just always taught to work hard for. Sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses… I’ve just been grinding for so long at this, it’s just an honor to be able to join the National Football League.”
Chaka has been in the NFL’s officiating development program since 2014. She has been doing officiating work since 2006 in high school and later college football. She also worked the field in the short-lived Alliance of American Football in 2019.
“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in a statement, per ESPN. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”
We welcome Maia Chaka to the 2021 roster of game officials!
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) March 5, 2021
Sarah Thomas became the first woman to work as an NFL on-field official in 2015. She made more history last month when she became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.
The past few years have seen an influx of women in front office, officiating and coaching roles throughout the NFL.
Congratulations to Maia Chaka! Good luck in the new job!