UPDATED NOVEMBER 19, 2012: WATCH FOOTBALL LIVE ONLINE ON THANKSGIVING
Football fans have another reason to give thanks this Thursday, November 22, 2012 because one of the Thanksgiving Day NFL games will be available to watch online for free. After feasting on turkey, you can watch football live as the New York Jets host the New England Patriots at 8:20 p.m. EST (the online stream starts at kickoff), with the game available to watch live for free on the NBC Sunday Night Football web page.
You don’t need a satellite dish on your roof to watch football live this season. You can stream NFL football games on your computer, phone, or tablet, using legal and officially-sanctioned NFL game webcasts. Some of these NFL webcasts are free, and some cost money; some deliver live games, while others provide unlimited repeat viewings after the games have been played. Some are available only to cable subscribers or customers of a specific wireless phone service provider. The list of sites and services broadcasting these games is long and complicated and some tricky blackout restrictions do apply. Let’s take a look at the coverage and audibilize on all the ways fans can watch football live online this season.
CAN YOU REALLY WATCH LIVE FOOTBALL FOR FREE?
Sadly, there will be only one NFL game per week that can be watched live online for free and that’s the Sunday Night Football game at NBCSports.com. Some cable subscribers will be able to get free access to the Internet simulcast of ESPN Monday Night Football. While everyone can’t watch NFL live free online, those with cable service are getting a service that isn’t costing them anything additional.
Verizon customers can watch NFL live and free on their smartphones. Those who download the free NFL Mobile app will have access to three live NFL games per weekend on their smartphone, plus the Red Zone channel, and a non-stop live feed of the NFL Network. If you want to watch football games that have already concluded, NFL Game Rewind offers broadband video replays of each game – plus some dynamite new technical innovations designed with fantasy football enthusiasts in mind. International readers will be interested to know that live NFL games are available through NFL Game Pass to customers living outside the U.S. and Mexico.
WATCH FOOTBALL LIVE: SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY NIGHT GAMES NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football are both streamed live, and neither requires any additional purchase of an online package. NBC’s Sunday Night Football game is a free webcast available in high-definition (HD) with four different camera angles from which to choose. The “Football Night in America” pre-game highlight show is not part of this online broadcast, nor are the highlights during the halftime show.
When Monday night rolls around, viewers can watch Monday Night Football online at WatchESPN.com. The livestream is free for subscribers to a cable provider that is on the WatchESPN affiliate list. If you are an eligible cable subscriber, you’ll have to create and log into a special online account, just like with the NBC Olympics livestream. Be aware that you cannot, however, watch Monday Night Football on a smartphone unless Verizon is your carrier. ESPN’s Internet broadcast of Monday Night Football is only available over computers and tablet devices .
NFL GAME REWIND WITH ALL-22 COACHES FILM
For years, fantasy football enthusiasts have been clamoring for access to the secret NFL “All-22” game film. All-22 game film is shot from a sky-high camera angle through which all twenty-two players on the field can be seen, and their movements analyzed. Traditionally, only NFL coaches have had access to this game footage. This year, All-22 footage is available to the public on NFL Game Rewind — allowing hardcore analysis of players in a fantasy football league.
NFL Game Rewind is an on-demand game archive providing each regular season NFL game in its entirety, but you can’t watch football live with this service. This is strictly for post-game analysis. The service is available in three packages. The most affordable option costs $34.99 and provides just the games of your favorite team, and only certain select plays are available in All-22 mode. Fans can get the regular season game broadcasts of all the teams for $39.99, however as is the case with the first package it only provides a limited number of the All-22 plays. This service is also available for a monthly fee of $19.99. A Season Plus pass, priced at $69.99, delivers all the games, with All-22 footage available for each play, plus three weeks’ worth of playoff games. Essentially the Season Plus pass gets you everything but the Super Bowl.
Broadcast restrictions are much less severe than in the preseason NFL package, and your local team’s home games are shown even if they’re not sold out. There’s still a catch, games are only available to watch after the Sunday night game has finished. In other words, you would not have access to any of Sunday’s games until approximately 11:30 p.m. EST Sunday night.
Tablet-using subscribers can download the free NFL Game Rewind app available for both the iPad and Android devices. Be aware, though – it’s a tablet-only app. NFL Game Rewind will not play on your smartphone.
WATCH NFL GAMES ON YOUR PHONE WITH NFL MOBILE
Why can’t you watch NFL Game Rewind or WatchESPN.com on your smartphone? Verizon is NFL’s official wireless service provider, so NFL games on smartphones are an exclusive benefit provided only to Verizon customers. The absolutely free Verizon NFL Mobile package delivers every Sunday night, Monday night, and Thursday night game to any Verizon customer, plus the delightful Red Zone channel and a 24/7 stream of the NFL Network. Accessing these livestreams only requires that you download the Verizon NFL Mobile app. While the app is free to download and use streaming or watching video over a data network can use a lot of data. If you go over your data plan, it can be costly.
Do you think All-22 is the end-all, be-all of game film? Does your cable provider offer WatchESPN.com? Will you rack up countless hours to your Verizon data plan just to watch Thursday night battles between last-place teams? Drop back and air it out in the comments below.