Cord Cutting Guide to Watching the 2016 NFL Season
At long last football season is finally here. For the next few months; every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday will be its own special holiday filled with tackles, touchdowns, and glorious 1080p HD entertainment. If this is your first football season without cable or you’re thinking about cutting the cord, you’re probably wondering what you’ll have to give up for your cable TV alternative; and in this instance, the answer is nothing.
Looking for our latest 2017 post on how to watch NFL without cable? Click here
Here are the 5 ways you can watch NFL Football without cable:
1) Sling TV
Although most NFL games are on OTA, Monday Night Football is one area the remains elusive to OTA football fans. That can all be fixed with a subscription to Sling TV. And to get things started for the 2016 Season, you also will be able to watch the NFL Draft.
2016 NFL Draft Schedule
- Round 1: Thursday (4/28/16), 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Rounds 2-3: Friday (4/29/16, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN (ESPN’s coverage moves to ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET.)
- Rounds 4-7: Saturday (4/30/16), noon ET on ESPN.
For $20 a month, you get access to 20+ live television channels; ESPN included. And if you are simply interested, but not sure, they offer a 7-day free trial. Sign up today, watch the draft, and then decide if you want to keep the service.
Now it may seem like a poor investment to pay $20 a month for just four extra games and the NFL Draft, but you also get so much more with Sling. In addition to all those extra channels, you also can stay up to date with NFL through Sports Center; not to mention that 45 percent of College Football airs on ESPN. Trust me when I say it’s well worth the money.
2) NFL Game Pass
If you are a football fanatic, or if an antenna does not work for you, and you want to watch EVERY NFL game this season, then NFL Game Pass is the way to go.
For $99 (free trial available) a season you access to all 256 regular season games for the 2016 season. In addition, you get access to EVERY NFL game from 2009 to present day. With Game Pass, you can stream live preseason games, and you can stream any NFL game out of the market within a few short hours after it airs.
You also get:
- Condensed Replays – Don’t have 3-4 hours to watch a whole game? Good news! Now you can get all the good bits in 30-minute replays!
- No Spoilers – The worst part about watching a game that already has been played it getting spoiled by the score. The no spoilers feature will let you toggle game scores on or off so you can watch every game unsullied by the future.
- Multiple Device Compatibility – Watch Game Pass on your desktop and Android or Apple devices. In the future, expect Game Pass to become available on the Xbox as well.
- Coaches Film – Watch the NFL like never before with the exclusive All-22 and End Zone angles. Talk about having a Fantasy Football competitive advantage!
- NFL Playoffs – You can watch the 2016 Playoffs and Super Bowl 50 on Demand.
- Live Game Day Audio – Although you cannot watch every game live with Game Pass, you will be able to live stream audio from every game.
Interested in Fantasy Football but have not joined a league? Or are you just looking for a fun, legal way to bet on weekly NFL games? Make sure you read: Cut the Cord but Keep your Fantasy Football Team
3) OTA Antenna
The vast majority of NFL games are aired on broadcast networks like NBC, CBS, and Fox. In order to get these games, all you need is an over-the-air antenna (OTA).
Now an OTA antenna is just a fancy way of saying television antenna; like the old rabbits ear that you grew up with. Unlike the rabbit ears of days passed, however, the modern OTA antenna is fully capable of delivering 1080p HD picture for FREE (minus the cost of purchasing the antenna, of course).
The only downside of watching the NFL through OTA is that you can only watch games that fall within your market. The main reason behind this is that there are only a handful of broadcast networks compared to the dozens of NFL teams. But if you are used to watching football on cable, this is no different than what you are using too. Games on FOX, CBS, NBC, and CBS are still fully accessible…
What this really boils down to is that you can watch Sunday and most Thursday night football for Free in HD.
Thursday Night Football on CBS
CBS has purchased the rights, for the second year in a row, to bring you 8 Thursday Night Football games (weeks 2 – 8 & week 13).
Update: 02.03.16 – CBS and NBC have agreed to pay roughly $450 million combined each year to air Thursday night games over the next two years. The Thursday Night Football package will grow to 10 games in 2016 and 2017 from eight games in 2014 and 2015, the league announced Monday. Learn more
Here is a complete list of all the Thursday Night NFL games you had access to last year:
Sunday Schedules, by Location
Want to know which games are available in your area – using an OTA Antenna? Check out the amazing maps offered by 506 Sports:
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|Indoor Antennas||Outdoor Antennas||OTA DVRs|
|Mohu Antennas are the #1 Selling Antennas on Amazon for a Reason!|
4) NFL Sunday Ticket
If you don’t want to wait for your out-of-market Sunday game, and you are outside of the service area of DIRECTV; then NFL Sunday Ticket might be for you.
As I just mentioned, NFL Sunday Ticket is meant for people outside of the service area of DIRECTV; ie in a rural area, apartment complex, or dorm room. Sunday Ticket gives you live access to every out of market game on Sunday. Here’s the price breakdown for Sunday Ticket:
- To Go, $49.99 (in four payments): Watch games live on your tablet, phone or computer
- Connected Device, $64.99 (in four payments): Watch games live on through your Xbox, PlayStation, or Roku device, as well as the previously mentioned devices
- Max, $89.99 (in four payments): Watch lives game on any connected device; includes NFL Red Zone channel and DIRECTV Fantasy Zone. Red Zone channel is every touchdown from every Sunday game and Fantasy Zone is dedicated to, you guessed it, Fantasy NFL Football.
If you go to one of these 300 US Colleges, you can qualify for a $99 (total) plan; which includes everything above. Compared to Game Pass, Sunday Ticket isn’t that great; but if you can get Game Pass, Sunday Ticket will help fill the void.
5) NFL Mobile
If you’re a Verizon customer and you don’t own an OTA antenna, then NFL Mobile is what you’re looking for. For $5 a month, you get
- All Primetime games (Thursday, Sunday, Monday Night Football)
- Local Sunday games broadcast in your region
- NFL Network 24/7/365
You don’t get every game, there is no on-demand, and no cool replays; but if you’re hurting for football there is no other option that comes close in terms of price.
(Bonus) 6. NFL Games for Free Online
In a groundbreaking turn of events, the NFL plans to stream 6 in-season games online for FREE. The 1st game will be on Sunday, Oct 25th, 6:30 am PDT and will be the Buffalo Bills vs the Jacksonville Jaguars – with the help of Yahoo Sports – Live from London.
The next set of games will be streamed by CBS Sports. Starting with 2 regular-season games, 4 playoff games, and the Super Bowl 50. The first CBS game will be the NY Jets vs Miami. Then the Carolina Panthers vs the Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 26, 4:30 pm ET), which will be on Thanksgiving Day. More details on the postseason coverage will be out later this year. Learn more here: CBS Sports To Stream NFL On CBS Coverage For Regular & Postseason Games Headlined By Super Bowl 50
Watch Football Online & Over-the-Air
So there you have it. With today’s information, you should be ready to go for Game Day on Day 1 with no muss or fuss. While Big Cable would have you to believe that you have to make sacrifices to get all the grid-iron action you’ve come to expect; as we have seen today, that’s simply not true.
Who do you think will make it to the Super Bowl this year (I am picking the Arizona Cardinals)? Sound off in the comments below!