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Old 11-02-2018, 07:12 PM
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Default Legendary NFL Writer Paul Zimmerman (Dr. Z) Passes Away

The greatest NFL reporter in history passed away yesterday. Sadly, his voice and knowledge have been silenced since 2008 when he suffered a series of major strokes.

Mike Silver has a great story as a leadoff in his tribute to his mentor and friend.

Quote:
The conversation turned from the inanity of Time Warner's expense-report system to Bill Walsh and the West Coast Offense, and I piped in immediately, eager to share my first-hand experiences with a living legend. There I was in an upscale South Beach restaurant, six days before Super Bowl XXIX, preparing to hold court at a Sports Illustrated team dinner less than three months after having jumped from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat to one of the greatest magazines on earth. I had spoken with Walsh earlier that afternoon, and I was feeling pretty damn pleased with myself in general. In retrospect, I wasn't investing a whole lot of effort into trying to conceal it.

"Stop talking," Paul Zimmerman said abruptly, bringing the conversation to a sudden and awkward halt. I smiled, but the force of nature known as Dr. Z wasn't smiling back. I assessed the situation: At best, he was hazing me. At worst, he detested me. Worst of all, his feelings may have been semi-justified. "You don't know enough to have an opinion," Zimmerman continued, swirling a glass of the gratuitously expensive red wine he'd ordered for the table. "Let's move on."

If that had been my last interaction with Dr. Z -- who, like Walsh, was already a living legend on that chilly Miami night in January of 1995 -- I'd still feel quite comfortable writing the following sentence: Zimmerman, who died Thursday at the age of 86, was the greatest football writer of all-time, and it was a privilege to work with him.

Blessedly, because I managed to recover from the rookie smackdown I received in that South Beach restaurant and get to know the man, I can say a whole lot more, and I hope you'll indulge me as I reflect back on an American original who not only helped my career immeasurably but also sent me a whole bunch of long, typewritten letters that were funnier and more revealing than, say, the best parts of everything I've ever read on social media, combined.

To say that, in the course of writing 13 consecutive Super Bowl game stories for SI and covering the sport for the magazine, I strove to soar to the standard set by Zim would be an understatement. After all, I already idolized the guy when I was grinding away at my college newspaper at UC Berkeley. A couple of years later, his cover story off the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIV blowout of the Denver Broncos was so insanely strong, it seemed unattainable: It began with Zimmerman hanging out in Joe Montana's New Orleans hotel room as the just-crowned Super Bowl MVP spoke on the phone to Larry Bird, drank Dom Perignon out of a water glass and broke down film of his epic performance.

To sum it up: Zim's story was Montanaesque, and vice-versa.

...

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap300...thentic-legend
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-films-...urs-truly-Dr-Z

RIP Dr. Z, your talents are missed.
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:20 PM
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For those who are interested in revisiting some of his classic SI articles, SI.com has an archive of his most memorable articles:

https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/11/01/pa...d-best-stories

Here is his 1991 column on fellow legend Sid Gilman:

https://www.si.com/vault/1991/09/02/...the-highlights
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Old 11-03-2018, 03:26 AM
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I especially enjoyed Sid Gillman.
TY Ruggs.
It is easy to picture Sid wanting to open up the Bears offense,
and the Bears saying no way.
Dr Z was indeed at the highest level of sportswriting.
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Old 11-03-2018, 09:28 AM
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Touching NFL films story of Paul Zimmerman. Wasn't that Tom Wopat playing his voice over at the restaurant and visit to the doctor? It was done with great hindsight, humor and heartbreak.

It's a shame his multiple strokes took Paul's gift of communicating. You think with the medical technology out there that Paul would be able to have a better qualify of life. A touching story of the latter stages of his life.

Thanks for sharing Zimmerman's articles. Reading the stories now. To think Howie Long would be a great fit for the Chargers defensive line even in today's modern game. Heck of a player. If he wasn't a pro he would of been a electrician. He survived his tough upbringing and still contributes today broadcasting on Sundays. I like his insights on the game.
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