Is Don Martindale Related to Wink Martindale? The Truth Behind the Nickname

Don Martindale is a well-known name in the NFL, as he is the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. He has been coaching in the league for 19 years, and has worked with teams such as the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens. But is he related to another famous Martindale, the TV game show host Wink Martindale?

The Origin of the Nickname

The answer is no, Don Martindale is not related to Wink Martindale by blood. However, he does share his nickname with him. Don Martindale got his nickname “Wink” during his freshman year at Defiance College in Ohio, where he played linebacker for the Yellow Jackets. One of his teammates called him “Wink” after the longtime TV game show host, who hosted shows such as Tic-Tac-Dough, Gambit and High Rollers. The nickname stuck, and Don Martindale has been known as “Wink” ever since.

The Coaching Career of Wink Martindale

Don “Wink” Martindale started his coaching career in the late 1980s at his alma mater, Defiance College, as an assistant for the Yellow Jackets. He then coached for three seasons at Western Kentucky University on the staff of Jack Harbaugh, the father of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. He also coached for three years at the University of Cincinnati, and in 1994 and 1995 was a defensive assistant at Notre Dame for teams that went to the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl.

Martindale made his NFL debut in 2004 as the linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders, where he stayed until 2008. He then joined the Denver Broncos as their linebackers coach in 2009, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2010. In 2012, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens as their linebackers coach, and helped them win Super Bowl XLVII. He became the Ravens’ defensive coordinator in 2018, and led them to four consecutive playoff appearances. In 2023, he was one of three recipients of the Pro Football Writer Association’s Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award, which is presented for lifetime achievement as an NFL assistant coach.

In 2022, Martindale left the Ravens to join the New York Giants as their defensive coordinator under head coach Joe Judge. He is known for his aggressive and creative schemes, his ability to develop players and his fiery personality.

The Legacy of Wink Martindale

Wink Martindale is not only a nickname for Don Martindale, but also a tribute to one of the most iconic game show hosts in TV history. Wink Martindale was born Winston Conrad Martindale in 1934 in Tennessee. He started his career as a radio DJ and singer, and made his TV debut in 1958 as the host of What’s This Song? He went on to host many popular game shows throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, such as The New Tic Tac Dough, The New High Rollers, Headline Chasers and Debt. He also produced several game shows, such as Bumper Stumpers and Trivial Pursuit. He has been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.

Wink Martindale is still active in the entertainment industry, as he hosts a podcast called Wink’s World and a syndicated radio show called Music of Your Life. He is married to Sandy Ferra, a former singer and actress, and has four children.


Don “Wink” Martindale and Wink Martindale may not be related by blood, but they share a common bond through their nickname and their success in their respective fields. Don “Wink” Martindale is one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the NFL, while Wink Martindale is one of the most beloved game show hosts in TV history. They are both examples of how a nickname can become a part of one’s identity and legacy.

Doms Desk

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