The sounds of 300-pound lineman slamming into one another, referees blowing whistles and (sometimes) excessive touchdown celebrations have been noticeably absent since the end of Super Bowl 53, when the New England Patriots secured their sixth title with a win over the Los Angeles Rams.

And much like the National Football League is set to usher in another exciting campaign, so to is the sports department at Courier Publications/VillageSoup as the organization is set to launch, for the 21st year, its annual Pigskin Pundits weekly NFL game selections.

For decades, the picks were featured in Courier Publications’ newspapers The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal. Now, those picks are made exclusively on the organization’s websites — and

Each year, Sports Director Ken Waltz, Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell, sports reporter Zack Miller, owner Reade Brower and a weekly guest have gone head-to-head by picking that week’s slate of pro football games.

After 16 weeks, the guest with the best weekly record will return to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller 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.

Last year’s guest winner was Brad King of Rockland, who went 11-4 in Week 12 and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower in the playoffs.

Last season, Waltz road the coattails of a 16-0 record in Week 16 and finished the regular season 161-93-2 (.634 winning percentage), while Miller was second at 157-97-2 (.618), Haskell third at 151-103-2 (.594) and Brower fourth at 142-112-2 (.559). The guests finished 148-106-2 (.583).

In the postseason, Brower went 8-3, Haskell and King 7-4, Waltz 6-5 and Miller 5-6. All five correctly picked the Patriots to defeat the Rams in Super Bowl 53.

The NFL season begins on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 8:20 p.m. as the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers.

Those interested in being a weekly guest picker should email Haskell at

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