NFL Referee Maia Chaka to Make History at Jets-Panthers Opener

by Courtney Blackann

Move aside, gents! There’s a new ref in town. And she’s not going anywhere if she can help it. NFL referee Maia Chaka makes history Sunday as she officiates the Jets-Panthers opener. She is the first female African-American woman to do.

“It’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America,” Chaka said in a statement, according to Fox News.

Additionally, NFL officials announced in March that Chaka would be a part of the official roster of referees this season.

Further, after getting her start as a physical education and health teacher in Virginia, Chaka went on to officiate college football in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA. She then traded up to the NFL.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” she said in a statement. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

The NFL also looks forward to having Chaka’s keen eye and skills on the field this season as well.

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

The Jets and Panthers take the field at 1 p.m. ET.

Gear Up for the NFL Season Minus the Hangover

As the NFL heads into regular season, all bets are on. Get your fantasy leagues ready. Sundays are fun again! However, no one wants to head into the office Monday morning with an aching head and apparent dehydration after a round of overtime takes the game late into the night.

So how do you cheer on your team without having to call in sick? There are a few things you should know. First, consuming water between drinks is critical. While most people probably won’t take the time to drink eight ounces of H2O between beers, it’ll actually do wonders if you can stick to it – and if you don’t mind several trips to the restroom.

Another tip is to mix your drinks with electrolyte-rich fluids like Gatorade or Powerade. The added ingredient will help alleviate those head-pounding mornings.

Yet another great piece of advice is to eat. Now, we know you’re going to consume large amounts of nachos and pizza during your Sunday Funday, but eating foods with high levels of vitamin B23 will actually help curb that next-day sickness. (This means wings are a must).

Essentially, go out and enjoy the game – but make sure not to kill your liver – and your head in the process.

Happy Football Season!