5 Reasons you Don’t need Cable for the 2016 NFL Season
It’s that wonderful time of the year where the kids go back to school, the leaves are on the cusp of changing color, and that most glorious sport known as football comes back into our lives. That means it’s time to dust off the old jersey, fill up the cooler, and get ready for the big game. But for those football fans who are looking for a cable TV alternative, it can be a time of uncertainty.
“Cable TV is too expensive and too bloated,” I’ve often heard readers say, “but football season is coming up so I think I’m gonna hold off on getting rid of cable.” For many would-be cord cutters, the choice between their NFL football and being free of cable is no choice at all. But luckily for us, you don’t have to make that choice any more.
Now if you have read articles like this in past years, and think you have heard it all before; Think again. There have never been more ways to watch Football without cable, then there are for the 2016 NFL Season.
(Hint: don’t miss the part about the RedZone channel. Probably the most exciting development since I started writing for cord cutters in 2011).
If you’ve been wondering how to watch NFL football without cable television, then wonder no more. Here are 5 ways to watch NFL football without cable:
1. OTA Football
The most cost effective, popular, and by far the simplest way to watch NFL football without cable is to purchase an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Just like those rabbits ears you’ve got collecting dust in the garage, a modern OTA antenna can give you free access to all of the major broadcast networks that air NFL games; such as NBC, CBS, and Fox.
The only conceivable drawback to an OTA antenna is that you are stuck with whatever NFL games are airing in your area. To figure out which games are airing in your area, simply jump over to www.506sports.com.
Now if local broadcasts are simply not enough – don’t worry, in just a little bit we’ll show you how to watch EVERY NFL game this season and all without the burdensome yoke of cable television.
2. NFL Mobile
If you’re a customer of Verizon, then you’ve already got the perfect football device in your pocket. Every Verizon customer has free access to a fantastic application known as NFL Mobile, and with NFL mobile you get live streaming access to local and primetime NFL games every Sunday and Thursday; no antenna and no cable television required.
But it gets even better!
Included in the NFL Mobile app is access to the NFL Network, which often airs games not available on cable or OTA television; and that’s not even mentioning all of the original content available on the NFL Network (like Good Morning Football).
For an extra $2 a month, you can also get access to NFL RedZone; which is a pretty fair deal if you ask me. (note: there is one more way to get NFL RedZone without cable. Keep reading!) Only downside to all this, is that casting the Verizon based signal to a Television is very difficult, if not impossible. So if you are like me, and need your Football on a large HD TV, then keep reading.
3. Sling TV and PlayStation Vue
While the football world may seem to be your oyster with an OTA antenna, there are still a certain number of games that won’t be available to you no matter where you are. That’s because Monday Night Football airs on ESPN, which is traditional a cable only channel. In years past, cord cutters just had to suck it up and deal with it. But thanks to the online streaming services of Sling TV and PlayStation, we no longer have to just “deal.”
With Sling TV‘s Orange package, you can get live streaming access to ESPN and ESPN 2 for just $20 a month. If you chip in an extra $5 a month and get the Blue package, you’ll be able to get the NFL Network. The only downside is that you won’t be able to get ESPN, but you can make up for it by getting the Sports Extra add-on which will give you access to the NFL Red Zone channel as well!
Now if your into Fantasy Football, or just a die hard fan, you have probably been searching for years, trying to find ways to “watch RedZone without Cable”. There is nothing like the RedZone Channel. I promise you, once you try it, you will never want to live again without it.
For PlayStation Vue, all you have to do is sign up for their Access subscription plan and you’ll get live streaming of ESPN for $30 a month. It’s a little bit more than Sling TV but you get a lot more channels, including Fox Sports 1 & 2 and NBC Sports, which really helps out if you’re a fan of other sports.
It’s worth mentioning that both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue offer live streaming of OTA channels in certain markets. Since it’s not available everywhere it’s not the most reliable strategy, but if you live in these areas for Sling TV you might want to take a look. For PlayStation Vue, you’ll have to go to this page and enter in your location to find out what’s available.
Breaking out into the live-streaming world is Twitter (press release). This season you will be able to stream a total of 10 NFL games for free. No contracts, no commitments, no BS.
As for how to watch NFL Games on Twitter? We are still waiting to find out. I suggest following the NFL on Twitter and tuning ind come game day. I am sure all will be explained at that time.
Here are the games you’ll be able to watch for the 2016 NFL Season:
- Sept. 15: New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
- Sept. 22: Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots
- Oct. 6: Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
- Oct. 13: Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers
- Oct. 20: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
- Nov. 17: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
- Dec. 1: Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
- Dec. 8: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- Dec. 15: Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
- Dec. 22: New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
5. NFL Game Pass
If you’re tired of settling for just the NFL games in your area or you’re just a huge NFL fan, you have to check out NFL Game Pass. For $99 a season, you get streaming access to EVERY NFL game from 2009 to present. Plus, you get access to a lot of historic match-ups and Super Bowls, special camera angles, condensed games, and MORE.
The only downside is that you can’t live stream current games. Instead, they become available immediately after the broadcast ends. What I like to do is watch whatever’s playing on OTA and then I switch over to the game of my choice when the time has come. It’s a small trade-off for everything you get.
You can try NFL Game Pass for Free for 7 days if you sign up for a free trial here.
Watching 2016 Football Without Cable
So there you have it. As we’ve seen today, there’s no reason why you have to make a choice between ditching cable and keeping your beloved football. You’ve got choices, you’ve got options, and all of them are far cheaper than even 1 month of cable. Football season may be starting soon, but there’s no reason why you can’t cut the cord while you wait. Start testing out these platforms so that when game day comes upon us, you are ready.
How do you plan on watching the NFL this season? OTA? Twitter? Or all of the above? Let us know in the comments below or sound off on social media!