NFL hires Maia Chaka as first Black female official

Maia Chaka has been added to the NFL’s roster of officials for the 2021 season, making her the second woman and first Black woman among the NFL’s on-field officials.

Chaka has several years of experience at the college level, most recently in the Pac-12, and has also worked XFL games and this year’s Senior Bowl. She previously worked preseason games as part of the NFL’s officiating development program.

“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 said this morning on Today.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent described Chaka as an up-and-coming official who had paid her dues.

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance – including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program – have earned her a position as an NFL official,” Vincent said. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”

Chaka joins Sarah Thomas, who has been in the league since 2015 and worked last month’s Super Bowl, as the league’s only female officials. Chaka and Thomas worked together in Conference USA in 2014.