As of the 2022-23 NFL season, three female referees are officiating games. These include Maia Chaka, Sarah Thomas, and newcomer Robin DeLorenzo. This is a significant increase from the 2021-22 season, which only saw two female referees, Chaka and Thomas.
Sarah Thomas is a notable figure in this context, starting her journey to the big leagues in 2015. She began as a line judge and worked her way up to a down judge by 2017, a position that now reflects a gender-neutral stance thanks to her efforts. In 2021, she made history by becoming the first female official to work a Super Bowl.
Maia Chaka also holds a significant place in NFL history. In September 2021, she became the first Black woman to be hired as a full-time official by the NFL.
The newest addition to the female referee roster is Robin DeLorenzo, a down judge in the Big 10 Conference before joining the NFL ranks in 2022.
Regarding remuneration, according to a TSM Sportz report, a female referee can earn a maximum of $1,500 per NFL game they officiate. If selected for the Super Bowl, their pay for a single game can increase to $5,000. During the 2021-22 NFL season, Sarah Thomas was the highest-paid female referee.
The NFL's recruitment of more female officials is a positive step towards increasing representation in football refereeing. However, it's worth noting that other leagues, such as the XFL, have also been proactive in this regard. In 2023, the XFL had eight notable female referees, including Krystle Apellaniz and Amanda Sauer.