Sports Geekery

Following Sports with Mobile Apps, Computers, & Gadgets

How to Watch NFL Games Online Legally: The Complete Guide

Are you looking for ways to watch NFL Games legally on your computer? We’ve compiled all the available ways to legitimately watch NFL Games online. Some products are on the pricey side, but some are available for free. NOTE: We’ll be updating this post as new information becomes available. 

Sunday Night Football

The NFL’s Sunday Night Football schedule has consistently provided premiere NFL games since NBC took over. Flex scheduling at the end of the season allows SNF to show games with playoff implications even when the originally scheduled games turn out to be less than stellar. Every Sunday Night NFL Game is available free online via Sunday Night Football Extra at NBCSports.com. SNF Extra features picture in picture with additional exclusive online camera angles, “HD Quality,”  DVR controls, and even closed captioning. In 2011, NBC added free live streaming of their broadcast Wild Card games along with Super Bowl 46. iPad owners can watch Sunday Night Football Online through the iPad stream link from NBCSports.com. Verizon Wireless customers can also watch on their mobile devices with the NFL Mobile app Watch Sunday Night Football Live Online (Link updated 9/5/2013)

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Monday Night Football

If you subscribe to ESPN through a participating provider you can watch Monday Night Football live online on WatchESPN.com.  WatchESPN is also available on the XBox 360 and watchespn-1 Apple TV and some other connected devices. Unfortunately, MNF is not available via WatchESPN mobile phone apps because Verizon holds the exclusive mobile streaming rights. As with the Sunday Night games, Verizon Wireless customers can also watch MNF games on their mobile devices with the NFL Mobile app.

Local Sunday Afternoon Games

Verizon will begin to live stream local Sunday Afternoon CBS & Fox NFL broadcasts on mobile phones.

Online streaming in-market Fox Sunday afternoon games will begin in 2014 and will include NFC Post-Season games broadcast by Fox. Games are available on your computer via the browser at FoxSports.com, or on tablets via the Fox Sports To Go app.

NFL Sunday Ticket Online

College Students

Student of most 4-year colleges and universities can get NFLSundayTicket.tv for $99 in 2015.

Everyone Else

NFL Sunday Ticket is offered only by DirecTV and gives you access to every Sunday Afternoon NFL game, with the exception of games already broadcast locally in your area. DirecTV rather quietly offered the NFL Sunday Ticket online to non-DirecTV subscribers who cannot purchase DirecTV for several years, but now extends New in 2014 is NFLSundayTicket.TV. This extends the online only availability to residents of metro Philadelphia, NY, and San Francisco, as well as certain college students from a handful of major college and universities. Check out our detailed post on subscribing to NFL Sunday Ticket online without DirecTV for more details. You may also want to check out our review of NFL Sunday Ticket online, iPad, and PS3

Thursday Night Football on NFL Network

If you have a TV subscription that includes the NFL Network through AT&T U-Verse, DISH, COX, Cablevision (Optimum), Verizon FiOS, or one of many smaller providers, you can authenticate with your TV provider credentials and watch the NFL Network, including Thursday Night Football, live online. If you have an iPad, the service is also available through the Watch NFL Network iOS app. If “Watch NFL Network” isn’t available through your TV provider, the games are sort of available to watch online at NFL.com. You don’t get the full telecast, but rather frequent “live look-ins.” This means they show some of the game and when they hit a commercial break, the broadcast get thrown back to the studio crew who “breaks down”  the recent action and further discusses the game. Eventually they take you back to the broadcast, but it could be 10 or more minutes later and after you’ve missed a chunk of the game. In a nutshell, it’s not an ideal way to watch, but hey, at least it’s something. On a positive note, they usually stay on the game during the last few minutes of the 4th quarter so you can watch the end rather than leaving you hanging. Verizon Wireless customers can also watch Thursday Night games on their mobile devices with the NFL Mobile app Watch Thursday Night Football at NFL.com/Live

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NFL Playoffs, Super Bowl, and Pro Bowl

Beginning in 2011, post-season NFL games broadcast by NBC were streamed live online at NBCSports.com and NFL.com.  This lineup included two Wild Card games, the Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl 46. The online viewer is the same as Sunday Night Football Extra and provided all of the same features.

2015 Wild Card on NBC: Both Wild Card games can be viewed at NBC Sports Live Extra or via the NBC Sports Live Extra Mobile apps.

2015 AFC Playoffs (UPDATED 1/1/2015) – All AFC Playoff games on CBS are now available online at cbssports.com/nfl/video/afc-playoffs.

2015 NFC Playoffs  – The NFC Playoffs are available online ONLY TO CERTAIN TV SUBSCRIBERS and only through Fox Sports Go. Only customers who subscribe to TV services through  AT&T U-Verse, Cablevision’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity, Midcontinent Communications, Suddenlink and Wow will get access to the NFC Playoff games. You find links to the Fox Sports Go app and the page to authenticate and watch in the browser here.

As noted at the top of the post, Super Bowl 49 can be viewed at NBC Sports Live Extra or via the NBC Sports Live Extra Mobile apps.

NFL Game Pass – Outside the US & Mexico

If you live outside the United States, Mexico, and US territories, you are eligible to purchase NFL Game Pass and watch every NFL Game live online.  The prices start around $150 for a basic subscription, but may vary depending on your country or region. The good people at USSportsDownUnder.com have put together a very nice review of Game Pass if you are searching for a little more information into how it all works. For more information see the NFL Game Pass FAQ, or order NFL Game Pass here from NFL.com.

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NFL Game Pass – United States and Territories (Formerly NFL Game Rewind)

In 2015, NFL Game Rewind is being repackaged as NFL Game Pass. It includes not only on demand NFL regular season games after they are over, but playoff games, Super Bowl, and live NFL preseason games. It appears as though the NFL has basically combined the NFL Game Rewind and Game Pass apps into the new NFL Game Pass app. NFL Game Pass comes with DVR controls, access to a complete archive of every game from 2009-2014, All-22 views, and the ability to watch up to four games at one time. All Sunday afternoon games are available after the end of the 4pM ET games on Sunday, except for night games which are available by noon. Check out our review of the old NFL Game Rewind for more details on how it works.

Check out NFL Game Pass for more details.

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NFL Preseason Games

It appears the NFL Preseason Live for 2015 has been rolled into the NFL Game Pass app (See above)

NFL Red Zone Online

Currently, if you are a customer of COX, Cablevision (Optimum), AT&T U-Verse, or Verizon FiOS, or one of many smaller tv providers and you have purchased the NFL Red Zone as part of your subscription, you can use your login credentials from those providers to log in and watch the NFL Red Zone either in the browser on your computer, or with the Watch NFL Network iPad and tablet app. The NFL Red Zone is also included with the NFL Sunday Ticket Online version. (See description above)

NFL Mobile Premium on Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless customers with iOS or Android phones or tablets can watch Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, local in-market Sunday games, and NFL Red Zone Channel on their mobile devices. It’s an exclusive offering through Verizon, so if you’ve got another carrier you’re out of luck.

CBS & Fox Sunday afternoon local in-market games will be available starting 2014. 

Overview

We are almost to the point where every NFL game is available to legally watch live online. As far as we’re concerned, that day can’t come soon enough.

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