Maia Chaka is about to make history. As of late, the NFL has taken up the mantle in working passionately to stimulate equality in its ranks. That includes making sure the world understands women are not only welcome in the sport of football, but that they can and are already an integral part of its increasingly growing success. In 2020, the spotlight was on a Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff when Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar carved a path for women looking to make a name for themselves on NFL coaching staffs, and also Sarah Thomas, who became the first woman to ever officiate a Super Bowl.
Chaka is about to make her own footprint in the history books. When the New York Jets line up to take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, she'll officially become the first-ever Black woman to referee an NFL game.
"It's a privilege that I've been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America," said Chaka, via an official NFL Instagram post ahead of the game.
Chaka will be just the third on-field female official in the NFL after Thomas and Shannon Eastin, a monumental achievement when considering the NFL is more than 100 years old.