The Denver Broncos won big on Sunday night, stomping the Kansas City Chiefs 34-24 and seizing a vital early lead in the once-mighty AFC West -- while the New England Patriots stunned the Indianapolis Colts again, 27-24, in a game the Colts should have won, but didn't.
How long, O Lord, how long? The Colts' offense has been the best in the league for so long that few fans remember who played quarterback before Peyton Manning came along, and their pass defense was the fifth-best in the NFL last year. But they still can't beat the Patriots. These failures are making Colts owner Jim Irsay old before his time.
Irsay called me last week from the ancient and honorable POLO Lounge in Beverly Hills, saying he was terribly nervous about his team's huge season opener in Foxboro -- somewhere on the outskirts of Boston. And he wondered if some of his players were planning to vote for George Bush in the coming November election.
"That's ridiculous," I told him. "Edge and Marvin would never vote for a criminal freak like George Bush. He is a failure in everything he touches."
"Well," he replied. "I don't know about that. Those two little daughters of his are extremely wild and hot. I've been sweet on those girls for a long time; I want them on my side when the deal goes down."
"Be careful, James," I said. "Those cupcakes are crazy as barn-cats, and they will never be on your side. Don't even think about inviting them up to Indianapolis for a game. Old Man Bush will call the cops on you and have you put in prison."
"Don't worry, Hunter," he said. "I know how to handle women. Those girls will be like putty in my hands. They will be worth at least three points in close games -- and I want those three points. I need them."
Only a sadist would have scheduled Indianapolis to visit Foxboro for the first game of a new NFL season. Nobody wants to open a season against the best team in the league, especially on a foreign field that brings back cruel memories of failure, defeat and suffering. But that is exactly what happened, and the Colts lost again by exactly three points. It was horrible.
The Bush girls were nowhere to be seen that night, and Irsay was carried out of the stadium in a brown rubber sack.
"He almost went insane," said a Colts executive staffer. "This may be the worst that ever happened to us."
I reluctantly agreed with him, but my grief was tempered by the fact that I had bet heavily on the Colts to lose by exactly three, just like the Vegas bookies predicted, and I won both sides of the wager. Many green dollars came my way, despite the bitching and whining of a few malcontents who tried to argue about my ruling that "the house wins all ties."
"No!" yelled a neighboring gambler who calls himself Dr. Morgan and who always bets favorites and calls himself an experienced football wizard. "This is not a house victory. They don't even have that rule in Las Vegas. I won't pay!"
|BUY THE BOOK|
|"Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness; Modern History from the Sports Desk" is a collection of Hunter S. Thompson's columns from Page 2, available August 11 from Simon & Schuster. You can preorder your copy here.|
"This is not Las Vegas," he said calmly, as Morgan struggled and hissed from the pain. "This is a private gambling parlor, and you will pay. That is the rule of the house."
Which is true. Bookies take their 10-percent vigorish, no matter who wins or loses; and in Woody Creek, the house takes all ties.
Morgan paid up, and I smacked him on the side of his head as he scurried out of the house.
"Get out of here and never come back," I told him. "We never wanted you here, anyway. You're a bad loser."
He was a loser, so we put him out on the street with all the others -- for now, at least. But he will probably be back for next Sunday, if only because he paid his debt. What the Hell. There is always room for losers in the football business. They are the mother's milk of gambling, and why not? Somebody has to do it, or there won't be any winners.
Exactly. That is the Code of the West.
And that's all for now, folks. The time has come to knock back a few and get weird with Ali G.
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.