I came across a bit of sad news today that one of my favorite sports writers - Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, better known as Dr. Z - recently suffered a pair of strokes and is currently in a rehabilitation facility. Those of you who pray, or who believe that they have influence with the Almighty, are hereby encouraged to channel such spiritual energy in the direction of Dr. Z, a legendary reporter of all matters related to the NFL.
Yet to describe Dr. Z as a "sports writer" is itself something of a disservice, like calling Chef Paul Prudhomme a "cook" or characterizing Paul Simon as a "dude who plays guitar." For Dr. Z is a different sort of sports writer, one who is just as likely to digress into a discussion about fine wine, the fact that he attended the same high school as the disgraced Eliot Spitzer, or how players on his high school football team cut metal cans and taped them to their forearms in an effort to gain an illegal advantage over their opponents. SI suggests that Dr. Z "has watched more NFL games than any other person on the planet," and he has been writing about football longer than I have been alive, which is saying something, as I am approaching my fifth decade of an earthly existence dedicated to the avoidance of wearing a tuxedo.
Simply put, Dr. Z is a master of prose, and an entertaining writer whose NFL Power Rankings, Bettor's Guide, posts about his wife Linda (better known as "The Flaming Redhead"), and regular Mailbag segments will be sorely missed by thousands of avid readers.
So, rest up, oh maestro of the pigskin missive, and we anxiously await your speedy return to health and - God willing - another dozen years of your insightful, humorous, and relevant commentary.