How many female referees are in the NFL in 2022?

Joshua Rogers October 15, 2021
How many female referees are in the NFL in 2022?
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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Maia Chaka recently made history by becoming the first black woman to officiate an NFL game. But how many female referees are in the NFL in 2022, and which woman was the first to do it?

Maia Chaka made history

Maia Chaka recently made history by becoming the first black woman to officiate an official NFL game.

Her first game was in September 2021 between the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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“This historic moment to me is an honour and it’s a privilege I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of colour in the most popular sport in America, proving I can defy the odds and overcome,” Chaka said in a video released by the NFL.

Chaka is a health and physical education teacher but has made a career officiating college football in the NCAA’s Pac-12 conference and Conference USA.

She joined the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014.

She most recently officiated the TNF game between the Eagles and Buccaneers, and social media was buzzing.

Maia Chaka’s Instagram is @maiachaka.

How many female referees are in the NFL in 2022?

During the coverage, fans were wondering how many female referees are in the NFL in 2022.

Presently there are just two – Maia Chaka and Sarah Thomas.

Sarah Thomas was the first female to be hired as a full-time NFL official, something she accomplished in 2015.

Thomas also hit a milestone in 2021 by becoming the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl (Super Bowl 55).

She is now entering her seventh season in the league and is listed as a down judge for 2021, wearing the No. 53 jersey.

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Who was the first ever female referee in the NFL?

While Thomas is the first full-time NFL official, she wasn’t the first woman to officiate an NFL game.

That achievement belongs to Shannon Eastin, who was hired as a replacement official in 2012 during a referee lockout.

Eastin’s first regular season game was on 9 September that year, between the Detroit Lions and St Louis Rams.

She no longer officiates in the NFL.

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.