NFL weekly games

After nearly two decades, 'Pigskin Pundits' move from print to online

By Staff | Sep 06, 2017

Rockland — Yet another sign the dog days of summer continues to draw to a close is the ushering in of the annual Courier Publications/VillageSoup Pigskin Pundits weekly National Football League game selections.

Those picks now will continue for the 2017-18 season, but will no longer appear in the weekly print editions of The Courier Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal.

The picks now be available exclusively on the organization’s websites — knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com.

This year marks the 19th that the sports department of Courier Publications/VillageSoup will attempt to pick the winners against weekly guests.

Each year, Sports director Ken Waltz, Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell, owner Reade Brower and a weekly guest go head-to-head against one another by picking that week’s slate of pro football games. They pick the “winners,” not based on a spread, but simply the final score.

After 16 weeks, the guest with the best weekly record will return to pick against Waltz, Haskell and Brower for the playoffs and Super Bowl. The guest with the best weekly record also will receive a year's subscription to any of Courier Publications' newspapers or either of the organization's websites.

The decision to shift the NFL picks from the newspapers to the online website was a difficult one for Waltz as they have been a mainstay of the Midcoast newspapers for nearly two decades.

"While it is unfortunate our pro football picks, which so many people enjoy, will be moved to our websites and out of the print products, people still will be able to find it each week online and compare their weekly picks with ours and cheer when we do well and laugh when we have a bad week," said Waltz.

One of the reasons for the decision was, due to the newspapers’ weekly Tuesday deadlines, Waltz, Haskell, Brower and the weekly guest had to make their picks early in any given week, making it difficult to predict games due to a myriad of potential reasons, such as player injuries and/or suspensions.

“Change can be a difficult thing and for many residents in the Midcoast, this will be no different,” said Haskell. “What’s unfortunate for me, specifically, is I really won’t have a good excuse anymore for why my weekly picks are so terrible.”

Haskell did finish first last year in the regular season with a record of 165-89-2, but that was viewed, largely, as an anomaly.

Those interested in being a weekly guest picker should email Haskell at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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