Here's how the sports media world reacted to Paul 'Dr. Z' Zimmerman's death.
Tributes from the sports media world poured in after news that longtime Sports Illustrated NFL writer Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman died Thursday at age 86.
During a career that spanned 55 years, Zimmerman spent nearly 30 of those at Sports Illustrated. He earned the nickname Dr. Z from managing editor Mark Mulvoy for the analytical approach he took to breaking down NFL games during his time with Sports Illustrated.
Zimmerman covered NFL legends until he suffered a series of three strokes in 2008 that left him largely unable to speak and confined him to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. His memoir that he was working on at the time was published in 2017.
In 2016, The MMQB paid tribute to Zimmerman's legacy during Dr. Z Week, when SI republished a number of Dr. Z's best stories.
Here's how the sports media world reacted to news of his death:
There was nothing like sitting next to Dr. Z in the press box. He had charts, pens, highlighters, notebooks, grunts, mutterings, and a stopwatch. He was covering a game you didn’t know existed. He also felt no guilt about his materials invading your space. He had earned it.— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) November 1, 2018
The New Thinking Man's Guide To Pro Football is probably the best football book ever and had a massive influence on me. Dr. Z is a legend and will be greatly missed. I am so, so glad I got to introduce myself at a Dolphins practice a few years back. https://t.co/A083nmNDBL— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) November 1, 2018
Dr. Z set the highest of bars. His is one legacy that will last forever.— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) November 1, 2018
I grew up waiting by the mailbox every Thursday to read Dr. Z. in Sports Illustrated. Before NFL Network, before the internet, he was the way my generation stayed connected. RIP.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) November 1, 2018
Many years ago, before I had ever made a dime writing about the NFL, I wrote something on some little-known website about my love of Dr. Z. He sent me an actual ink-on-paper letter thanking me for it. Getting that letter remains a career highlight. https://t.co/YET2o5Ax5Z— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) November 1, 2018
I’m profoundly sad for the Flaming Redhead as Dr. Z referred to wife Linda; for @peter_king who so appreciated Paul Zimmerman as friend and colleague; and for all who deeply respected Paul’s work and dedication to covering pro football. https://t.co/EvnZMcnmxq— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) November 1, 2018
One of the highlights of my writing career was getting to work with and befriend Paul Zimmerman, the one and only Dr. Z. He was a true original and his legacy is immense. Nothing gave him more pleasure than the give and take of a debate, but he could be a teddy bear, too. (More)— Don Banks (@DonBanks) November 1, 2018
Paul Zimmerman was the greatest NFL writer in history. RIP, Dr. Z.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 1, 2018
He is survived by his wife Linda, who he was living with in Noblesville, Ind., two children from his first marriage to Kate Hart, Michael and Sarah, and a granddaughter, Natasha Mariner. Zimmerman also leaves behind Linda Zimmerman's two children Nathan Bailey and Heather Snopek and their families.