After the clock ran out on super bowl XXII last January, the pro football season ended for most people, but not for two of our experts. Senior writers Paul Zimmerman and Rick Reilly did what many members of an NFL championship team do in the off-season—they wrote books. Dr. Z collaborated with a controversial running back for two of the Dallas Cowboys' Super Bowl clubs on Duane Thomas and the Fall of America's Team. Reilly, who has stories in this issue on the Ram-Raider game (page 30) and Bryant Gumbel (page 72), hooked up with Seattle Seahawk linebacker Brian Bosworth and produced The Boz: Confessions of a Modern And-Hero.
Thomas was an exciting runner for the Cowboys in the early 1970s. He was also an enigma, as moody as he was talented. Zimmerman remembers Super Bowl VI, in which the Cowboys met the Miami Dolphins in New Orleans. "Duane sat with his arms folded at a press conference for 20 minutes and didn't say a word," says Dr. Z. "I wasn't sure whether he would cooperate for the book. We went out to lunch together. Not only did he talk, but he also was a terrific storyteller."
Zimmerman regularly gets reticent subjects to go all out for him. Part of that comes from his breadth of experience. He has been covering pro football for 28 years, 10 of those for SI, and he has written six other books on the sport.
The Boz, it seems, never stops talking. His idea of fun, he told Reilly two years ago, was to curse and spit at his opponents and to twist the heads of ballcarriers. One night last season Reilly and Bosworth hatched the idea for a book.
September 25, 1988
To many, the prospect of spending time with such a seemingly boorish, antagonistic self-promoter would lack appeal. But, says Reilly, 'The Boz really is a nice guy. He's quiet around the house and is meticulously neat. He subscribes to Bon Appètit and goes to the theater every time he is in New York." Nonetheless, the Boz inspires resentment. "People in Colorado don't like him very much," Reilly says. "When we skied there, I became adept at batting away snowballs." Apparently the literati in Colorado, and in other parts of the U.S., don't feel that way. The Boz recently climbed to No. 4 in the nonfiction category on The New York Times best-seller list.