Updated March 14th 2017
When your life justifiably revolves around NFL football, you need to know how to watch live football games somewhere other than just your living room. If you’ve cut the cable cord, it’s especially important to know how to watch live football free. After all, we’re not savages. Even without a satellite dish, a nearby sports bar or a cable TV subscription, there are still NFL games that will be available for you to watch football live each Sunday with nothing but the Internet connection you’re surfing right now. For starters, the opening night showdown of the champion Baltimore Ravens vs. the Denver Broncos is streaming for free on Thursday, September 5, 2013.
Sure, having that cable subscription now lets you watch football online a whole lot more. A cable subscription entitles you to Monday Night Football live-streaming privileges, plus the NFL RedZone Channel all day Sunday – but watching the RedZone Channel over the Internet is only available to customers of certain cable TV providers. Some NFL games are free online for everyone, other games are available only on certain devices or to customers of certain cable companies, or to certain cell phone company customers or. Let’s look at the byzantine set of new regulations the NFL is employing this year to determine which games you can watch on your computer, smartphone, or tablet, and which games anyone can watch online for free. Check out the graph below for a quick reference of where to watch football games online.
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WATCH LIVE FOOTBALL FREE ONLINE
The one NFL game every week that anyone can watch live for free is the marquee Sunday Night Football game webcast live at NBC Sports Extra. Each Sunday night during the 2013 NFL regular season, you can watch one of the better match-ups of the weekend at 8 p.m. ET courtesy of NBC Sports. (The Opening Night game on Thursday, September 5 is also being streamed for free on NBC Sports Extra). You’ll get the Sunday Night Football announcing team of Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth, plus your choice of a number of camera angles that aren’t accessible to those watching on TV. You won’t get the “Football Night in America” scores and highlights pre-game show, but you do get a reliable HD live stream of the game.
There is one and only catch to the free Sunday Night Football webcast – you cannot watch it on a smartphone or tablet unless you are a Verizon cellular service customer. Verizon has exclusive rights to streaming the NFL on mobile devices, so only Verizon customers can watch live games on their smartphones or tablets.
WATCH FOOTBALL ONLINE VIA THE NFL REDZONE
A big change this year of which NFL fans should be aware: the massively fantastic NFL RedZone Channel is now available online streaming live football online. The NFL RedZone Channel is seven hours of non-stop, commercial-free live football, with coverage that whipsaws from live game to live game and shows you every touchdown and all of the most intriguing plays of each Sunday afternoon’s early and late games. I have several times gone seven hours without using the washroom just because of the impressive coverage on the NFL RedZone Channel.
While the NFL RedZone Channel is now streaming online, you can only watch the Internet stream if you have an active cable television subscription through COX, CableVision (Optimum), AT&T UVerse, or Verizon FIOS. If you do subscribe to one of those cable service carriers, you get a free 24-hour stream of the NFL Network as a benefit. That stream includes the NFL RedZone broadcast all day long on Sunday.
WATCH FOOTBALL LIVE ON MONDAY NIGHT
As in previous years, ESPN will stream Monday Night Football live online on WatchESPN.com, the site that lets you watch ESPN on the Internet. WatchESPN is provided free of charge, but only available to cable subscribers. Unlike the NFL RedZone Channel live stream, WatchESPN is available to subscribers of pretty much every cable service carrier, and the stream is available in quality high-definition (HD).
Again, though, you won’t be able to watch Monday Night football on a smartphone unless Verizon is your cellular service carrier. Verizon’s exclusive carriage of live NFL games on smartphones applies here as well.
WATCH LIVE FOOTBALL ON TABLET OR SMARTPHONE
As noted earlier, Verizon is has exclusive rights to live NFL games on mobile devices, and provides fans with three live games every weekend. Verizon subscribers can watch Thursday Night Football live, Sunday Night Football live, and Monday Night Football live. If that’s not enough live football Verizon mobile customers can also watch the Sunday RedZone Channel on their smartphones. These streams are not entirely free, even Verizon customers must pay the $5 fee for the NFL Mobile app to access the NFL live streams. While you can watch the RedZone channel on your mobile device, your tablet or smartphone won’t show individual Sunday afternoon games – yet. Next year, Verizon will begin streaming your locally broadcast 1 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET games on smartphones for the 2014 NFL season.
Are you ready for some football streaming on your desktop, smartphone, or tablet? Who are this year’s NFL teams to beat? Would you switch to Verizon just to get NFL games on your smartphone or iPad? Let us know your official rulings on the field in the comments section below.
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