Hunter S. Thompson once famously wrote, “Football season is over,” in his Colorado kitchen and then blew his brains out. (OK. The Gonzo Great actually died four days after he typed his final “report,” but the end of the NFL season may have actually played a role in the Thompson’s decision to end it all… that and the Bush presidency and a lifetime of boozing too much, popping too many pills, taking too hits, snorting too many lines, and generally being a disagreeable ass, etc., etc.)

That said, the 2007 NFL season is a done with as Raoul Duke. Yes, the Super Bowl is still ahead, but that’s more of a beauty pageant for the mad men on Madison Ave. than an athletic contest. More often than not, it’s a letdown. You know this, I know this. There’s not reason to discuss the matter any further.  After all, there are so many great days ahead. Need I remind you that ACC league play has started.

Which brings us to a column by Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News. In it, Cowlishaw provides a fairly accurate assessment of the best “days” in sports. In my opinion, he got the top spot right:

1. MASTERS SUNDAY: There isn’t another major sporting event that delivers four hours of drama as consistently as what plays out those April Sundays in Augusta.

It’s a rare thing when Tiger Woods isn’t in the hunt. In fact, it may be another 10 years before he’s not. Inevitably, there is bad weather early in the Masters but by Sunday, it is beautiful and the players are able to attack the course (even with the changes), and viewers’ familiarity with the back nine make this the best watch in sports.

Judge for yerself. Read the rest here.

And for all the political fans out there if you haven’t read Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 you’re missing out on the single best book on politics ever. Praise be to the power of drugs to give a reporter the courage to tell the truth. The MSM gets a skewering.

Speaking of Rolling Stone political reporters, Matt Taibbi has a condensed version of the On the Campaign Trail ’72 in the latest issue of the music and news mag. Read it here.

Stripped of its prognosticating element, most campaign journalism is essentially a clerical job, and not a particularly noble one at that. On the trail, we reporters aren’t watching politics in action: The real stuff happens behind closed doors, where armies of faceless fund-raising pros are glad-handing equally faceless members of the political donor class, collecting hundreds of millions of dollars that will be paid off in very specific favors over the course of the next four years. That’s the real high-stakes poker game in this business, and we don’t get to sit at that table.

Instead, we get to be herded day after day into one completely controlled environment after another, where we listen to an array of ideologically similar politicians deliver professionally crafted advertising messages that we, in turn, have the privilege of delivering to the public free of charge. We rarely get to ask the candidates real questions, and even when we do, they almost never answer.

If you could train a chimpanzee to sit still through a Joe Biden speech, it could probably do the job. The only thing that elevates this work above monkey level is that we get to guess who wins.