Oct 20, 2018; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; UTSA Roadrunners head coach Frank Wilson (left) talks to head linesman Maia Chaka in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at M. M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Maia Chaka becomes NFL’s first Black female official

Maia Chaka is the first Black woman to be named to the NFL’s officiating staff, the league announced Friday.

The NFL made the announcement on “The Today Show” prior to a live interview with Chaka.

“It didn’t really hit me until just now when I saw the introduction,” Chaka said on the show. “I’m like, this is really real. This is something that we’re always taught to work hard for and sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses. And I’ve just been grinding for so long in this. It’s an honor to be able to join the National Football League.”

Chaka is a health and physical education teacher at Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach, Va.

She has officiated at the collegiate level, including games in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

Chaka joins Sarah Thomas as the NFL’s only female officials. The pair worked together in Conference USA in 2014.

“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,” said Troy Vincent Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations.

“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.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; NFL female line judge referee Sarah Thomas (53) in the third quarter of the game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Colts 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sarah Thomas to be first woman to officiate Super Bowl

Sarah Thomas will make history again next month as the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.

The NFL on Tuesday announced the officiating crew for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla.

Referee Carl Cheffers’ crew includes Thomas as a down judge along with umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge James Coleman, side judge Eugene Hall, back judge Dino Paganelli and replay official Mike Wimmer.

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in a statement. “Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor.”

Thomas, 47, was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history in 2015. She made her regular-season debut when the Houston Texans hosted the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 13, 2015.

Coleman and Thomas are Super Bowl newcomers, while the others are working in the title game for the second time. Cheffers was the referee for Super Bowl LI when the New England Patriots rallied to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, 34-28, in Houston.

–Field Level Media