The last Super Bowl
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

Wartime Super Bowls are always dismal and lame -- if they happen at all -- due to "tragic National Security disasters that we cannot, of course, disclose to you at this time, because of etc, etc, etc.". Alas, I know that story well. It happens every time you find a huge police agency seizing control of all sporting events, in this country or any other.

Indeed. But that is what happens in War-time, eh? Yes sir, the War Machine comes in and takes whatever measures are Necessary to make sure our boys have plenty of bombs, wherever they happen to be. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice ... Hot damn, there's a war on, bubba. That's for sure -- but at least it won't happen until the day after the Super Bowl -- and that is when the shades will come down. Beyond that, Nobody knows. It will all be up in the air.

So we should all take a nice long look at the Big Game on Sunday in San Diego -- because it may be the last one we'll see for a while, at least until the War ends ... Ho ho. That is a nasty thought, as thoughts go, but it is the melancholy truth. Certainly it will be the last peacetime Super Bowl for another five years, maybe more ... But by then we will all be wearing uniforms, of one kind or another, and only the "Trusted Travelers" among us will be allowed to come and go as we please -- within reasonable military limits, of course, as long as we don't make waves and never gather in groups of more than three, and don't spit.

Whoops! Why are we drifting into negativity here in this hour, with the final game of the season about to happen and the war about to start? Nevermind that morbid gibberish about --

"You know what?" the Sheriff interrupted. "The last place in the world I'd want to be this weekend is San Diego. It will be like hell on earth."

"Not for the Oakland Raiders," I said. "They will be on top of the world, such as it is."

"That's what I mean," he said. "The Raiders will have fun. All the others will suffer. They will all be detained, or locked up for military crimes. Military crimes. Military police, military tribunals. Military justice -- get used to it. That is the Military way."

I agreed, and quickly changed the subject. "How many draft picks did the Raiders get for Jon Gruden?" I wondered aloud.

"Many," said a voice from behind me. "They also got enough money to pay off many signing bonuses. Al Davis will rule forever."

Charlie Garner
The Good Doctor is staying the course with the Raiders.
Which may be true. The Raiders dynasty is already a fact, whether they win or lose on Sunday, and the dynasty is moving in full harvest mode. Stand back. Prepare to salute and pay tribute ... That is how Davis and his people are seeing it, anyway, and I think I agree with them. This is a serious football team, folks.

Which is not to say that Tampa Bay is not. No sir. But the Oakland Raiders are serious in a different way. They're deadly serious, and you can take that for whatever it seems to mean. They are assassins, in a word, and they have everything they need in their arsenal: extreme speed, beautiful talent, smart coaching, preternaturally fine chemistry, and a rare level of individual intelligence among players ... This is a high-class unit, exactly the kind of team you would buy for yourself if you wanted to win a Super Bowl. Tampa Bay's chances of winning the game on Sunday are about one in 500. You're welcome.

I might be wrong, of course. I might be wrong. Hell, that's always possible. Nobody can win all the time. That would be fishy. It would mean that something is wrong with the system. Why bet on a fixed game? That is nonsense, of course. The Super Bowl can never be fixed -- not in Peacetime, anyway ... and even if it was, I would never offer to bet on the Raiders and give 500-1 odds. Not on the internet. That would be illegal and probably insane. Think of the trouble I would have in collecting on my bets, eh? Or pay off. Wow. That would be horrible, truly horrible, like a plague of lizards and leeches fighting, all around you on the ground. These rodents are always in heat.

Whoops. Strike that. Leeches are not rodents. They are blood-sucking members of the Hirudinea family, a sub-species of the hermaphroditic sucker-worm that is frequently applied to headache-victims and other human wounds. Leeches used in human treatment range in size from three inches to 13 inches when fully bloated. They have two ugly mouths, one on each end, filled with tiny, razor-sharp teeth by which they attach themselves firmly to the flesh, prior to sucking. The leech has many eyes.

Click here to buy Hunter S. Thompson's latest book, "Kingdom of Fear."
The Oakland Raiders are the only team in football that still routinely uses leeches for treatment of serious injuries. It is an old-timey medicine, deriving no doubt from the team's Bay Area roots, with its powerful Italian community and its many neighborhood grocery stores and exotic foreign delicacies, along with sausage, fresh fish and leeches ... I have many fond memories of hanging out in North Beach at elegant Italian restaurants with Raiders players in the good old days of yesteryear, when the silver-and-black dynasty was just getting started, long before they turned into the gigantic, high-powered winning machine that they are today.

Things were different in those years, but they were never dull. Every game was a terrifying adventure, win or lose, and the Raiders of the '70s usually won -- except in Pittsburgh, where cruel things happened and many dreams died horribly. You could see the early beginnings of what would evolve into the massive Raider Nation, which is beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and whackos ever assembled in such numbers under a single "roof," so to speak, anywhere in the English-speaking world. No doubt there are other profoundly disagreeable cults that meet from time to time in most of the 50 states ...

But so what? There is nothing more to say. I have obviously made my decision about the Raiders. They are simply a better football team than the Buccaneers, and they will win. A realistic line for this game would be 10 or 11, but right now it is hovering around 5 or 6.

In the end it won't matter. It will be like a track meet for tall people. Good luck, and remember this: If the Raiders lose, I will appear on national TV with big leeches all over my head and a formal apology to read. I will be ashamed of myself for being such an ass.

Indeed. But that is the nature of gambling, eh? That is why we do it. Ho ho. That is why we call it fun.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.



Hunter S. Thompson Archive

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