Former Canisius football player Rich Martinez, Canisius Class of 1992, is one of 12 new game officials hired by the National Football League, the NFL announced Thursday. A former college official who worked in the SEC, Martinez earned four varsity letters as an outside linebacker with the Golden Griffins’ football program from 1988-91 and he served as a team co-captain during his senior year.
Martinez is now one of 119 officials that work in seven-man crews to cover the NFL regular season. Last season, the Pembroke Pines, Fla., native worked SEC regular season games and he also worked the Fiesta Bowl game Jan. 1 between Central Florida and Baylor. Martinez, who majored in communications at Canisius, closed out the college football season by serving as the back judge for the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl, which was played in Mobile, Ala.
“The NFL is about constantly striving to improve performance, and that is certainly the case for our game officials,” Dean Blandino, the league's director of officiating, said in a release posted online by the Associated Press. “Our 12 first-year officials were all among the best in college football.”As a Griff, Martinez collected 34 career tackles, including five for a loss, and he was also credited with a sack, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. In 1990, he tallied a career-high 23 tackles, 11 solo stops, and he was a key member of the Griffs’ special teams unit as well, serving as the program’s long-snapper on field goal/extra point tries and with the punting unit.