It’s back. It has been seven months, but finally the NFL kicks off tonight with Panthers @ Broncos, and there’s a full slate on Sunday. Another season is under way, and now you can catch every snap on your iOS device throughout the 2016 season. A lot has changed over the years in terms of iOS access, and 2016 has the most, and best options yet. The App Store is eight years old, but in the early days, we were relegated to simple sports score apps. Today though, the App Store is jam packed with great NFL related apps, and we’re here to highlight the very best so that you can watch all of the action on your iOS device.
NFL Mobile (Free, Universal): The official app from the league provides the usual set of scores, schedules, standings, alerts, and highlights. What makes it potentially the best is that it offers live streaming of every NFL game for just $5 a month. You can watch Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football as well as the NFL Red Zone Channel for all of the Sunday day games. It’s potentially the best, but that potential is limited to Verizon iPhone customers only, and no one else can pay $5 per month to access the live streaming. There’s also the potential to watch on the iPad as long as your TV provider is AT&T U-Verse, Cox, Dish Network, Optimum, or Verizon FiOS.
NFL Mobile has obvious limitations, but for those who can get access, there’s no better choice in the App Store. It’s also worth noting that the NFL deal with Verizon limits the access of Monday Night & Sunday Night Football on ESPN and NBC respectively, on the iPhone. In fact, NFL mobile is the be all, end all if you want to watch Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football on your iPhone.
NFL Sunday Ticket (Free, iPhone / Free, iPad): The main app for every game, is the Sunday Ticket app by DirecTV which lets you watch every game, every Sunday on your iOS device. The app does require a DirecTV subscription, with not only Sunday Ticket, but Sunday Ticket Max, which provides the mobile access. Sunday Ticket Max is a $75 premium over regular Sunday Ticket, which already costs $299.95 for the season. The Sunday Ticket app offers the most live video, but comes at the highest price with the greatest restrictions.
WatchESPN (Free, Universal): Speaking of restrictions, there’s also the WatchESPN app which could potentially let you watch Monday Night Football on your iPad. You do need to have either Time Warner, Bright House, Comcast, or Verizon FiOS, and then MNF is only available on the iPad. The iPhone doesn’t get access due to a licensing agreement between the NFL and Verizon for mobile phones, which relates to the NFL mobile app above.
SiriuxXM Internet Radio (Free, Universal): As a bonus, if you just want audio, and don’t need video, then the SiriusXM app can come in quite handy. If you’re a SiriusXM subscriber, the free app lets you listen to every game because they’re the only radio broadcast home for the NFL. SiriusXM provides home and away broadcasts of every single game this season to let you listen to play by play of any game you wish.
NBC Sports Live Extra (Free, Universal): The first game of the season, and every Sunday Night Football game is available on NBC, and they have an updated app for 2016 with NBC Sports Live Extra. It offers live streaming options within in the app for every sport NBC carries, expect the NFL. Oddly, clicking to watch Sunday Night Football live within the app just takes you to Safari, where you can watch the game from a particular link within your browser. The app is kind of pointless, but the link does change around, so you can’t bookmark it perfectly. Again, you can only watch on the iPad, as iPhone viewing is restricted to the NFL mobile app.
The 2016 NFL season is here, and you can watch the whole thing on your iOS device thanks to great, albeit restricted apps.