Paul Zimmerman, RIP

I was sorry to hear about the passing of the iconic pro football writer Paul ZimmermanThe New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football was the first book I read that dug into the nuts and bolts of the game.  It was a great read that stuck with me, many years later.

If you had an interest in pro football, which I once had, his work in Sports Illustrated was pretty much a must read.  He was also a first-rate character, which never hurts.

His passing is just another reminder that media coverage of sports isn’t what it used to be in many ways.  Kinda sad.

11 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

11 responses to “Paul Zimmerman, RIP

  1. Athens Dog

    Damn He was quite a character in addition to being an outstanding writer. Thanks for reminding me how old we are getting. 😢

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  2. tbia

    Dr. Z was usually spot on in predictions also…knew his stuff.

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  3. Macallanlover

    Just curious Senator, as someone who also once followed/cared for pro football and now pays almost no attention to it, any specific thing that caused you to step back from the sport? I honestly don’t know how I got to this point of apathy. It seemed to happen over time, and now I can say there are several things that may have contributed along the way, but I just don’t keep up with the sport at all, or miss it. Other than stories and clips I see about former Dawgs, I skip over everything. Didn’t even see a play in last year’s Super Bowl, that is a long way from my past interest level, even as recently as 3-4 years ago.

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    • Mac, for me, it started with my four years at UVa. The ‘Hoos might not have been the worst team in the country then, but they were certainly in the bottom five. Combine that with a rabid fanbase for the Redskins, and I sort of naturally gravitated that way. Going to UGA for law school impacted my enthusiasm levels for both sports.

      Another difference was that from a strategic standpoint, the NFL used to be a lot more interesting. It was pretty cool seeing Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense smother teams. It was just as cool to see the West Coast offense impact the NFL. Nowadays, between the rule changes favoring the passing game and the innovation all seeming to come from the college ranks, the NFL is just a giant bore to me.

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      • Macallanlover

        Thanks for that. Mine was also more broadly based than any short-term changes (team success/failure, favorite player loyalty, etc.) I feel it began in the 1990s when CFB became more widely available and took more of my weekend time that I just didn’t have Sundays to give any longer. The decision for allocating that time to CFB over the NFL was the sheer passion of the fans and players in college, as well as the diversity of the offenses and number of spirited rivalry games that occurred so often throughout the season versus the pros. Also grew up a UGA fan back in the radio days so there was a “local” team attachment but the closest NFL team was in Washington DC which was like another planet from South Georgia to a 12-15 year old.

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        • I was in my 20s in the 50s and a poor Georgia boy from a small rural town..the few times I got to a TV for pro ball it was all about the Redskins. The QB was 5’6″ Eddie LaBaron and the other guys were within normal human proportions. They stayed with the team so you learned their names and those of their opponents…then expansion and fee agency hit and salaries escalated and it became a “business”. Still I hung on until the current “kneel down” debacle hit and that was it for me. Spineless commissioner and owners and prima donna players killed it for me. CFB is and will be the object of my affections.

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          • Macallanlover

            I had dropped away before that BS but it insures I don’t ever get tempted to revisit. Hope they kill the Golden Goose.

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  4. Corch Irvin Meyers New WR Corch

    When I was kid growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, Sports Illustrated was my bible, and Peter King and Dr. Z were the prophets of pro football. It’s sad to see how one has fallen into irrelevance, and the other finally lost his struggle against the stroke that took his ability to write away from him.

    Like you Senator, in the last few years I’ve completely fallen away from the NFL. It’s not just one thing, but a combination of a lot of things. I think the Falcons Super Bowl collapse is what really drove the stake through my heart. But even before then, I didn’t watch a down of the Broncos-Panthers Super Bowl because of my intense dislike of both QBs in the game. I still read about the Falcons and about the great year Matt Ryan is having trying to single-handedly keep that MAS*H unit in the playoff hunt, but I’ve not really watched much this year and probably won’t watch much in the last month when CFB goes into bowl practice mode.

    I loved everything Dr. Z wrote. His picks columns. His mailbag (which Bill Simmons briefly perfected on the old ESPN Page 2 site). His power rankings. He was ahead of his time in almost all ways. He did it first, and when he didn’t do it first, he did it best. He’s the guy who laid the groundwork for what NFL media is today, and while he would be the first person to by angry for being blamed for the sorry state that’s in, he truly was a giant.

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  5. Dawg Vegas

    He and Dave Kindred made me aware of what good sports writing could be. Damn, I’ve missed him these last 10 years. RIP Dr. Z

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  6. CB

    I honestly read this blog because somewhere around 70% of media covering Georgia football full time are complete hacks.

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