Cutting the cord is a growing trend these days but a major concern for most is missing live sports. Especially when it comes to NFL Football. Luckily for you, there are multiple different ways to watch America’s favorite pastime. With that in mind, this guide will explain how to watch NFL games without cable.
One of the biggest problems most face when it comes to watching NFL games is something called a paywall. Popular apps like Fox Sports Go or WatchESPN require a cable subscription login. Meaning you have to pay for cable in order to tune in.
Those aren’t the only way to watch NFL games live though. In fact, there are a few different options for you to choose from. From watching Thursday night games on Amazon Prime, to simply buying an HDTV Antenna and watching most games for free. Below are seven of the best ways to watch your team play on Sunday.
How to Watch NFL Football Games Without Cable
If you’re looking to save some money or just ditch those expensive cable contracts, we’re here to help. These are the best options available, and some work for a lot more than just sports and Football.
The easiest way to watch TV without cable is by using an Antenna. Whether that’s an old-school set of bunny ears or a new HDTV Antenna, they both work. The only problem with this method is the Antenna will only pick up your local team, or in-market games. If you’re a Packers fan living in Las Vegas like me, this won’t work.
Still, I opted for a TiVo BOLT and a newer HDTV Antenna from Amazon. And while the BOLT isn’t required, it makes the experience even better. An Antenna can pick up local games and quite a few channels. In some instances, the Antenna had a better picture than cable. Not to mention the BOLT offers DVR recording and apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and more built-in. Making it the only box I need on my TV stand.
You’ll want to make sure you have a good signal and enough space on your roof. If you’re in range of the big networks you’ll never miss a game. I can pick up ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC with this setup. Games are free and most end up in HD too. Another option is this flat indoor HD Antenna.
Additionally, you can watch regional games on Sunday afternoon, Sunday Night Football and select Thursday night games. And don’t forget, for the 2017-18 season most TNF games are streaming on Amazon Prime for when your Antenna doesn’t get the game.
PlayStation Vue has a wide selection of channels and it’s a pay-by-the-month. Meaning you can pay for streaming access during the NFL season and cancel whenever you want. PS Vue is $29.99 a month with ESPN or $34.99 a month with the base package and NFL Network. You can even pay $39.99 a month for all of that plus the local channels we mentioned above. Ditching cable and an Antenna for one complete TV and NFL package.
And since you’re paying for PlayStation Vue you’ll likely have access to apps like Fox Sports Go, WatchESPN and others we mentioned at the top of the page. That’s because you’re now a paying subscriber, and can sign-in to get past the paywall on most apps.
This means you aren’t watching Football for free but it’s a lot cheaper than paying for cable. Some may even consider borrowing a friends login credentials if you’re into that sort of thing.
One of my personal favorites is Sling TV from Dish. Like PS Vue, Sling TV is live TV that streams over the internet. You’ll pay a monthly fee for it, but they have tons of add-on packages and no contracts. The base fee has over 30 channels and is only $20 a month. That includes access to ESPN. Then you can add-on a Sports package, DVR services, stream it on multiple devices at the same time and more.
An added benefit of Sling TV is it works almost everywhere. You can sign in and stream football games on a computer, smartphone, tablet, Xbox, streaming boxes or the Amazon Fire TV. Sling TV even works right inside the Chrome Browser now. It’s extremely versatile.
For only $25 a month the Sling Blue package has ESPN, NFL Network, and NFL RedZone, as well as other popular channels like AMC. Get both Sling Orange and Sling Blue for $40 a month with over 60 channels. At the end of a four month regular NFL season, you’ll only end up paying $160.
This essentially replaces cable, gives you more options, and you’ll spend less throughout the entire season than most spend each month on cable TV.
NFL Sunday Ticket
Did you know you can get the NFL Sunday Ticket without DirecTV? It’s only $99 for college students, and they even have a standalone streaming option that starts at just $69.99 for the entire season. There are a few limitations though.
You’ll need to pass an “eligibility test” first. Basically, if you live in a college dorm, apartment building, or other areas where a DirecTV satellite won’t work, you’re eligible. So while this option isn’t available to everyone, it’s one more thing to try before paying an expensive cable bill.
Oddly enough, I entered in my address a few years ago and was eligible. I’ve been streaming the NFL Sunday Ticket to my HDTV, smartphone or tablet for the past three seasons. Find out if you’re eligible by clicking here.
NFL Game Pass
Another option is something called the NFL Game Pass, although it’s less than ideal. The way the NFL words its website is a little misleading, so be careful before you sign up.
With NFL Game Pass you’ll get to watch virtually every single NFL game, but only AFTER they air on TV. It’s not live, but an on-demand replay. And while that’s a bummer for some, others won’t mind plus it has a few benefits.
The only live-action games are out of market pre season games. Everything else is available on-demand after the game is over. With Game Pass, you can watch the regular broadcast game just like everyone else, or a “condensed” version without commercials or timeouts that only takes about 45 minutes. Some really enjoy that.
Game Pass also has highlights, analysis, coaches films, and access to years and years of games in the NFL archive, and that includes Super Bowls. This costs $120 or you can pay $29.99 in four easy payments. One for each month of the regular season. Another benefit of this is the option to watch condensed games on a smartphone or tablet.
NFL Mobile with Verizon Wireless
The official NFL Mobile app streams every single NFL game for those on Verizon Wireless absolutely free. You don’t have to pay for anything, it’s included with your service and monthly bill. The NFL Mobile app is loaded with content, but the live-streams are ONLY available to Verizon customers. It’s a bummer for everyone else, but amazing for Verizon Wireless users.
There is one other problem with using NFL Mobile, it’s only available on mobile devices. If you’re ok with that, we recommend trying it this season.
It’s worth noting that the official NFL Mobile app has a lot to offer for fans. Audio feeds for both teams, score alerts, updates, highlights and more. Anyone can download and enjoy most of what it has to offer, on both Android and iOS. This is an app I’ve used for years, but only Verizon customers will get to enjoy live streams on a smartphone or tablet.
Last but not least is a new service from Google, YouTube TV. It works essentially the same as PlayStation Vue or Sling TV, and is perfect for Football fans. However, there are a few limitations and restrictions you’ll want to know about.
For $35 a month you’ll get access to everything on YouTube, live TV, on-demand video, DVR features, and more. YouTube TV has access to almost every channel one would need to watch NFL games live.
As you can see above that base price has all the major networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, ESPN, Fox Regional Networks, Fox Sports 1 & 2 and a lot more. NFL Network and RedZone aren’t included, but they don’t stream too many games to begin with. Just watch TNF on Amazon Prime.
The only problem with YouTube TV is the fact that Google added the four big networks to the main package, and not all regional affiliates are on board. This means some regional restrictions apply, and YouTube TV may not be available in your area. Try it free today, and find out if you’re eligible by clicking here.
Now, simply decide which option above works best for you. Either way, they’re all cheaper than spending $150 a month on cable for 2,000 channels you’ll never watch.