It has come to this.

One game to see which team will lift the coveted Lombardi Trophy as the National Football League Super Bowl LV titlist — Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady, the current GOAT, versus Patrick Mahomes, the possible future GOAT.

The old versus young.

The upstart Bucs versus the defending champion Chiefs.

The pirates and plundered booty versus the nice Midwestern folk from Missouri who treat Arrowhead Stadium as their other Sunday church of the football gods.

The ship and cannon versus the "war" chant and tomahawk chop.

It all goes down on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, interestingly and ironically, home of the Buccaneers. It will, in fact, be the first time in league history one of the participants in the big game will play on their home turf.

Unfortunately, there will be nothing on the line for the "Pigskin Pundits" from Courier Publications/VillageSoup, who include Reade Brower, owner; Ken Waltz, sports director; Mark Haskell, associate sports director; and Zack Miller, sports reporter; or their postseason guest picker, Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth.

That is because Brower finished first during the regular season and Haskell has proven the best in the postseason. Haskell holds a two-game lead over the field for the top spot in the playoffs (he also has taken the overall season lead).

While the pundits and guest picked the outcomes of regular-season and previous playoff games by which team won, and not the points spread, that format changes for the Super Bowl.

For the final game, the prognosticators will pick the winning team, final score and give a brief explaination for their decision (see below).

In the conference championship round, Haskell finished 2-0, Fogg 1-1 and Brower, Miller and Waltz 0-2. In the divisional round, Haskell, Miller and Waltz finished 4-0, while Brower and Howard ended 3-1. During Wild Card Weekend, Miller, Waltz, Haskell and Fogg finished 4-2 and Brower 3-3.

Thus, in three weeks of postseason predictions, Haskell is 10-2, Fogg, Miller and Waltz 8-4 and Brower 6-6.

Brower earned the regular-season championship in the 22nd year of the "Pigskin Pundits" and those four media members, along with Fogg, pick the outcome of playoff games.

After 17 weeks of the 2020-21 regular season, Brower finished at 166-89-1 (.651 winning percentage), Waltz 164-91-1 (.643), Haskell 163-92-1 (.639) and Miller 160-95-1 (.627). The guests finished 159-56-1 (.624).

Ultimately, after 256 gridiron clashes from September to January, that included one tie, Brower prevailed by two games over Waltz, three over Haskell and six over Miller, as well seven over the guests.

At this point, including the playoffs, Haskell is 173-94-1 (.648), Brower and Waltz 172-95-1 (.644), Miller 168-99-1 (.629) and the guests 167-60-1 (.625).

The following are the Super Bowl game picks of the "Pigskin Pundits" and guest, along with their explanation:

Sunday, Feb. 7

Super Bowl LV: NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus AFC titlist Kansas City Chiefs.

Brower —  Kansas City 37, Tampa Bay 24: "A couple of offensive juggernauts; one guided by the ageless wonder Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, the other representing youth and a Brady wanna-be in Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Throughout this postseason I have been consistently wrong going with team experience, underestimating the GOAT every step of the way. Did I learn anything; no! The Chiefs have the team that has been together; coach, quarterback, receivers make for reliability, while the Bucs have Tom Brady and his Patriot sidekick Gronk. That combination will click and Brady will keep the Bucs in the game, but Mahomes will prove too much for them. And the coaching edge goes to Andy Reid; coaching wins Super Bowls especially when GOATS like Belichick and Brady sit on the same bench. Reid and Mahomes are not GOATS yet but both will make a run at the Brady/Belichick two-decade dominance and it starts with their back-to-back Super Bowl victories. Mahomes' mobility and Brady on his heels creating a couple of forced mistakes will give the Chiefs the edge they need and talent-laden, super-coached Chiefs will repeat. Winner-winner, chicken dinner."

Waltz — Tampa Bay 38-35: "Well, I’m going to go half with my brain and entirely with my heart. Tom Brady and the Bucs find a way to pull out the victory, which puts the final chapter in a storybook season for the 'ancient' one. Two weeks ago Brady and the Bucs played a nearly flawless first half against the Green Bay Packers then got greedy in the second half with coach Bruce Arians' bombs-away mentality and the resulting three interceptions nearly bit Tampa in the butt. That will not happen this time unless the Bucs get down big early. Tampa absolutely must run the football effectively to set up play-action. The Chiefs are tough and certainly could repeat, but Tampa's defense is for real, especially their interior line and linebackers, which I think will get to a slightly hobbled Mahomes. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Mahomes are athletic studs and always cause for concern. However, the story is too good to end any other way. Sports legend a few years from signing up for AARP leaves former organization after two decades and, during a once-in-a-century pandemic, wins it all with his new team playing on its home field in the Super Bowl for the first time in league history. You cannot make this stuff up."

Haskell — Kansas City 37, Tampa Bay 23: "This is the matchup I picked at the start of the season. The Buccaneers versus the Chiefs. Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes. The quarterbacks of the last two Super Bowl winners. The old guard versus the new guard. The 'hater' in me wants so badly to pick the Bucs. I like my Patriot fans agitated and conflicted, not indifferent. If the Bucs win, it would drive some over the edge and have them bring torches and pitchforks to One Patriot Place for letting Brady sign with Tampa Bay, which would be fun to watch. All that aside, I think this could be a classic matchup. Tampa Bay has a strong defensive front four. And, if you factor in the fact the Buccaneers are playing this game at home, they could benefit from some home calls. But, everything about the Chiefs passes the eye test. If you throw out a meaningless Week 17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers where they rested nearly every starter, they have won 25 of their last 26 games spanning into the middle of last season. They can outscore anyone and other than Brady and Gronk, no one on the Bucs has a whiff of Super Bowl experience."

Miller — Kansas City 35, Tampa Bay 30: "This is such a difficult game to project. Both teams met in week 12 with the Chiefs winning on the road in Tampa 27-24, and I believe Kansas City goes and wins the Super Bowl over Tom Brady and company. Tampa has had a stout defense all year, but the Chiefs have too many weapons with tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreke Hill and Mahomes at quarterback. Now, Mahomes has turf toe, and it limited his mobility in the victory over Buffalo in the AFC Championship game, but that didn't stop Kansas City from putting up points. If Mahomes is healed enough and has that mobility back, I think Tampa Bay is in trouble. Don't get me wrong, I am rooting for our old Patriot friend Tom Brady in this game, and they do have a chance with the weapons they have — not to mention Brady's experience at the highest level — but the Chiefs have more collective experience from being in the Super Bowl last year, and I believe that's enough."

Fogg — Tampa Bay 34, Kansas City 31: "I think Tampa is the one team that can almost equal the talent on the offensive side of the ball versus Kansas City. But Tampa's defense has flown under the radar. They are good, they are young, they are fast. I think they get after Mahomes enough to disrupt the momentum. Tampa's young secondary will be able to hold up just enough for Brady to make a play with the offense. This will be a close game, and it will come down to who makes more plays on the defense. I think Tampa has a slight edge on that side of the ball. Should be fun to watch."

Other statistics

For the guests in 2020-21, in Week 1, Dave MacNeill of Warren finished 8-8; Week 2, Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth 13-3; Week 3, Rusty Worcester of Cushing 7-8-1; Week 4, Emily Cole of Waldoboro, 6-9; Week 5, Ryan Jackson of Warren, 10-4; Week 6, Richie Oliver of Jefferson, 9-5; Week 7, Casey Holmes of Dixmont, 9-5; Week 8, Matt Petrie of Wiscasset, 8-6; Week 9, Erik Benner of Friendship, 10-4; Week 10, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 6-8; Week 11, Meagan Miller of Warren, 9-5; Week 12, Austin Haskell of Rockland, 11-5; Week 13, Lucas Brower of Rockland, 11-4; Week 14, Garrett French of Warren, 11-4; Week 15, Brad King of Camden, 10-6; Week 16, Sam Clement of Bennington, Vt. (originally from Lincolnville), 9-7; and Week 17, Laurie Cole of Rockland, 12-4.

For the media crew, Miller and Waltz finished tied with the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg earned the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2, thus will pick against the media members in the playoffs.

As the top guest, Fogg also will receive a free one-year subscription to one of the media company's three Midcoast papers or one of the two online sites.

Waltz was the regular-season winner the previous two years, but others have risen to the top in the postseason.

For decades, the weekly picks were featured in Courier Publications’ newspapers The Courier-GazetteCamden Herald and The Republican Journal. Now, those picks are made exclusively on the organization’s websites — knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com.

The picks appear each week online.

After 17 weeks of regular-season play, the guest with the best weekly record returns 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 one of Courier Publications' newspapers or one of the organization's websites.

For the previous two years, the guest winner was Brad King of Camden, who has clearly proven the “king” of the guest pickers. Last year, he went 12-3-1 in Week 1 to earn the right to pick against Brower, Waltz, Haskell and Miller in the playoffs, while two years ago, King went 11-4 in Week 12 to earn the honors.

History lesson

In 2019-20, Waltz finished 165-90-1 (.647 winning percentage), Brower 159-96-1 (.624), Haskell 158-97-1 (.620), Miller 155-100-1 (.608) and guests 158-97-1 (.620).

Among the 'Pigskin Pundits,' Brower had the best weekly records at 14-1 in Week 8 and 13-2-1 in Week 1, while Brad King finished 12-3-1 in Week 1 for the best mark among the guests.

In the playoffs, Miller went 9-2, Waltz and Haskell 7-4, Brower 5-6 and King 3-8. Miller, Waltz, Haskell and Brower correctly picked the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54, with Haskell’s prediction of 33-23 the closest to the 31-20 final score.

Guest participants in 2019-20 were: Week 1, Brad King of Rockland, 12-3-1; in Week 2, Michele Scheffler of Jefferson, 8-8; in Week 3, Howard Fogg of Monmouth, 11-5; in Week 4, Ethan Butler of Appleton, 7-8; in Week 5, Scott Case of Belfast, 7-8; in Week 6, Emily Cole of Waldoboro, 9-5; in Week 7, Casey Holmes of Dixmont, 11-3; in Week 8, Jacob Light of Warren, 10-5; in Week 9, Chad Blake of Rockland, 6-8; Week 10, Brad Strong of Rockland, 4-9; Week 11, Otis Kneeland of Stockton Springs, 10-4; Week 12, Chris Hart of Rockport, 10-4; Week 13, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 11-5; Week 14, Dagney Ernest of Thomaston, 10-6; Week 15, Lynsey Carr of Augusta, 11-5; Week 16, Connor Kneeland of Stockton Springs, 12-4; and Week 17, Laura MacDonald, 10-6.

In 2018-19, Waltz was the “top dog” in the regular season as he finished 161-93-2 (.634 winning percentage), thanks to a 16-0 final week, 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).

Overall, Waltz finished 167-98-2, Miller 162-103-2, Haskell 158-107-2, Brower 150-115-2 and guests 159-110-2.

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.

In the postseason, Brower finished 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 LIII.

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