The Pro Football Writers of America announced former San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick as one of the three recipients of the 2023 Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman Award on Monday morning. The honor is given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL and is awarded to McKittrick posthumously.
McKittrick's coaching career spanned nearly four decades and included stints at the collegiate and professional levels. Although widely recognized for his experience coaching the offensive line, McKittrick actually got his foot in the door at Oregon State (1961-1964) as a linebacker and tight ends coach for the Beavers. He then went on to take the defensive coordinator position at UCLA (1965-1970) before getting his first nod at the pros. McKittrick served as offensive line coach for the Los Angeles Rams (1971-1972) and the San Diego Chargers (1974-1978) before landing the job with the 49ers in 1979.
McKittrick spent 21 seasons with San Francisco, winning five Super Bowls (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV and XXIX) and 13 NFC West division crowns in that span. He, along with George Seifert, Ray Rhodes and Bill McPherson are the only four San Francisco coaches who were part of all five title-winning teams. McKittrick's O-lines were tasked with blocking for prolific quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young during his tenure with San Francisco.
The offensive line coach made a name for himself while with the 49ers because of his ability to develop talent in-house. McKittrick's offensive linemen were selected to 40 NFL All-Pro teams and 20 Pro Bowls, and per Bleacher Report, just one of those players was a first-round draft pick.
The Paul Zimmerman Award is named for Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for 29 years as Sports Illustrated's lead pro football writer. "Dr. Z's" writing career was cut short by health issues in 2008 that left him unable to speak, read and write, but his impact on the writing and football industries was profound. He is considered one of the best football writers of all time.
McKittrick, along with New York Giants defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale and retired Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell are the 21st, 22nd and 23rd recipients of the "Dr. Z Award," which was started by the PFWA in 2014.