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. 

News & Rumors for 2014

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

Online streaming of  CBS & Fox Sunday afternoon games is rumored & could happen in 2014.

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 and NFL Mobile Premium subscription for $5/month. 

Watch Sunday Night Football Live Online (Link updated 9/5/2013)

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Monday Night Football

Yes, it is actually possible for some people to watch Monday Night Football live online on WatchESPN.com. Unfortunately, those people are limited to subscribers of TV service from Time Warner, AT&T U-Verse, Charter, Cox, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, Bright House Networks, Comcast or Verizon FIOS. It’s “free” for those subscribers, but of course, you need to already be paying for ESPN via your TV provider to also get access online. WatchESPN is also available on the XBox 360 and watchespn-1 Apple TV. 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 and NFL Mobile Premium subscription for $5/month.

NFL Sunday Ticket Online

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 offers the NFL Sunday Ticket online to non-DirecTV subscribers who cannot purchase DirecTV for one reason or another. (condo rules, line of site nfl-sunday-ticket-2013-2issues, etc.). 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 and NFL Mobile Premium subscription for $5/month. 

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.

2014 Wild Card on NBC: Both the KC-Indianapolis and New Orleans-Philadelphia games can be viewed at NBC Sports Live Extra or via the NBC Sports Live Extra Mobile apps.

2014 AFC Playoffs (UPDATED 1/12/2014) – The AFC Playoff games are now available online at cbssports.com/nfl. Look for the “Watch Now” link to load the video player.

2014 NFC Playoffs (UPDATED 1/13/2014) – 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.

Super Bowl 49 – The Super Bowl (on Fox) WILL BE STREAMED FREE for everyone at FoxSportsGo.com.

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 Rewind – Games On Demand

If you don’t mind waiting until the day after to watch games, you can see every NFL regular season game in high quality streaming video with NFL Game Rewind. With Game Rewind, you get DVR controls, access to a complete archive of every game from 2009-2013 and the ability to watch up to four games at one time.

NFL Game Rewind now comes in two different packages and is also available on tablets devices (Android & iPad)  via a separate app. The standard package will cost you $39.99 for the entire regular season. The Season Plus package ($69.99) gives you access all the way through July, plus access to the new “All-22″ or end zone cameras. All games are available after midnight on Sunday, except for night games which are available by noon. Check out our review of NFL Game Rewind for more details.

You can subscribe to Game Rewind at NFL.com.

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NFL Preseason Live

The Preseason isn’t for everyone. If you are one of those that get excited about position and roster battles, or just can’t wait to watch any NFL games, you can watch every NFL game live and on-demand with NFL Preseason Live. It’s $19.99 for the entire Preseason (typically available until mid-September). Introduced in 2012, is the NFL Preseason Live iPad app that will let you enjoy NFL Preseason Live on iPads and certain Android Tablets. In past season, the NFL has lowered the price each week, so waiting a week or so to watch may save you a few bucks. Local blackout apply, so if a game is on in your area, it won’t be available live, but it will be available later on-demand. You get more info or sign up for NFL Preseason Live here.

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, and NFL Red Zone Channel on their mobile devices for $5 / month by subscribing to NFL Mobile Premium. It’s an exclusive offering through Verizon, so if you’ve got another carrier you’re out of luck. The NFL Mobile Premium also gives you 24/7 access to the NFL Network.

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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  • Noel

    No word on the PC version? Can you please also let us know if there will be able to watch the 4 game split on the pc version like the last two years or has it gone to one game at a time like PS3

  • http://howtowatchnflgamesonline.org/ Sports Online Guy

    Nice listing of various ways to watch football online!

  • Max

    NFL Gamepass includes playoff, regular season and superbowl live but we can’t buy it in US :(

  • rich

    can i watch thursday night nfl games if i have nfl sunday ticket on my ps3 but i dont have direct tv programming

    • sportsgeekery

      Sadly, no. Sunday Ticket is only for the Sunday games (except the Sunday Night NBC game).

  • Chris

    Is there anybody providing online coverage of the divisional or conference rounds of the playoffs?

  • MIKEH

    I want to know why when I had to move to Illinois and they hooked up my receivers that I had my MN local channels then the guy did something and I had Chicago channels. IF that’s the case I should have been able to keep my MN local channels and not have to pay an extra dime to watch what should be free Vikings games,

  • jeff

    i pay $300 a year for the NFL Ticket and can’t watch online!

  • Owen Manske

    About this update: “UPDATE (6/3/2013): Amazon, DirecTV, and EA Sports have announced FREE NFL Sunday Ticket online with purchase of the Madden NFL 25 Anniversary Edition. The Madden NFL Anniversary Edition goes for $99.99 and the offer is only available through Amazon.com.”

    In the FAQs it states this:
    Can I watch NFL Sunday Ticket on my PS3 by purchasing the Anniversary Edition?
    No, this only provides access to NFL Sunday Ticket on computer, tablet, and mobile devices.

    Just FYI. This had me excited because it sounded too good to be true. Although my PC monitors aren’t much smaller than my TV, and the sound system on my PC is really good…

    • sportsgeekery

      Thanks Owen. I’ve added a note clarifying this in the post.

  • MJ

    Do you know, if I buy the Madden 25 for PS3 but I don’t have PS3, can I still access the code to use Sunday Ticket Online on my computer? I.e. is the code embedded in the game somehow or is it just a piece of paper that comes with the game?

  • Noel

    With the new interface for the online package do u know if the game mix (4 games at once) is still available for 2013

  • Noel

    With the new interface for the online package do u know if the game mix (4 games at once) is still available for 2013

  • Framer

    None of this would be necessary if they just understood that most of us just want to watch our team. Unless you are lucky and your team is on, you end up at a bar on Sunday morning or paying the ridiculous directv fee, or hunting for the game on the internet.

    • sportsgeekery

      They understand just fine, but money talks. DirecTV pays billions for exclusivity rights.

      • johnnywad

        Any news regarding the 2014 season yet? I’ve recently moved and would like to get just the Sunday Ticket App and not subscribe to DirecTV.

        • sportsgeekery

          Nothing tangible yet. They typical don’t announce anything about the online version until a couple weeks before the season starts.

  • Timothy Joseph

    What about Thanksgiving Day games?