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NFL Witnesses Inaugural All-Black On-Field and Replay Crew In Action


NFL officials pose for a group picture before the Las Vegas Raiders play against the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Las Vegas, NV. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis) (Jeff Lewis / Associated Press)

In a stride toward diversity and equality in the National Football League (NFL), Ron Torbert and his crew made history Thursday night as they officiated the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers game at Allegiant Stadium, becoming the league’s first all-Black on-field and replay crew.

The pioneering crew comprises Maia Chaka as the line judge, Artenzia Young-Seigler as the replay official, and Desiree Abrams as the replay assistant. The occasion is not only significant for racial diversity but also for gender inclusion, as it will be the first NFL game with three women officiating — one on the field and two in the replay booth.

What perhaps makes this moment even more legendary, is that four out of the nine-person team, are HBCU graduates: Chaka from Northfolk State, Young-Seigler from Paul Quinn and Tennessee State, Abrams from FAMU, and Yette fom Howard.

NFL First All-Black On-Field And Replay Crew Makes History
TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 23: The first all-Black officiating crew which includes Referee Jerome Bogar (23) in white hat, Barry Anderson (20), Julian Mapp (10), Carl Johnson (101), Anthony Jeffries (36) and Greg Steed (12) poses together before the regular season game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 23, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The announcement comes three years after the first all-Black officiating crew worked an NFL game. On November 23, 2020, referee Jerome Boger and his crew created history by becoming the league’s first all-Black crew during the Monday night game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Boger, who was promoted to referee in 2006, marked a crucial milestone as the third Black referee in NFL history.

The 2020 all-Black officiating crew included Barry Anderson as the umpire, Anthony Jeffries as the side judge, Carl Johnson as the line judge, Julian Mapp as the down judge, Dale Shaw as the field judge, and Greg Steed as the back judge.

This milestone also pays homage to Johnny Grier, who, in 1988, became the NFL’s first Black referee. Notably, Grier officiated the first Super Bowl won by a Black quarterback, Doug Williams, in his inaugural year in the league.

“This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and to the power of inclusion that is the hallmark of this great game,” said Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of Football Operations.


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