Baseball may be America’s pastime, but the most popular sport in the country is American football. Because of that, the National Football League has made its content available on many platforms. No matter which team you’re into, there is a way to watch them. Finding the games isn’t always easy, though, which is why we made this guide on how to watch the NFL online.
The NFL’s regular season features 16 games across 17 weeks for each team. That’s a lot of media to consume. There are several ways to ensure that you never miss a touchdown, interception or quarterback sack. You can even watch the Super Bowl online.
The tried and true method is to watch on standard TV. While they were once the only option for cheering on your favorite team, cable packages have become unpopular because of their high cost and the convenience of online streaming.
If you’re one of the many sports fans who have cut cable TV from their lives, subscription-based streaming services could be the answer. Not all of them are equally legal, but we’ll tell you the risks as we go along. Let’s start with the above-board methods.
How to Watch Thursday Night Football Online
In January 2018, Fox paid a whopping $3 billion for the exclusive broadcast TV rights to Thursday Night Football games for five years, so you know where to go.
Cable subscribers who want to watch on their smart device can download the Fox Sports Go app and enter their TV provider login credentials. Fox affiliates are available, too, even if you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription. You can also access Fox via services such as YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV.
The NFL Network is available on FuboTV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now and the NFL app. Those services range in price from $20 to $55. The NFL Network features not only telecasts of the games, but analysis programs that dive deep into the performance of each team and how it is impacting the overall season.
Amazon Prime Video is the most cost-effective, legal way to watch live Thursday Night Football. Amazon is streaming 11 Thursday night games during the 2018 season. It costs just $12.99 per month or $120 for the year.
How to Watch Sunday Night Football Online
Sunday Night Football lives on NBC. Since that is a common TV channel that doesn’t require cable, anyone with a digital converter box should be able to watch their favorite Sunday night games at no cost. Most services that offer live TV will also have access to a local NBC affiliate.
Hulu with Live TV is streamable on major gaming platforms, as well as smart devices, such as Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and iOS and Android devices. For $40, you get 40 live TV channels, including local NBC affiliates, which carry Sunday Night Football. Hulu with Live TV also comes with Hulu’s on-demand service.
YouTube TV features both local NBC affiliates and NBC Sports. Like Hulu with Live TV, it is $40 per month and comes with 40 live channels. YouTube TV’s best feature is unlimited DVR, which ensures that you’ll never miss a game. You can add up to six accounts per household.
How to Watch All NFL Games
There are many football fans who only watch their team’s games. There are also fanatics who want to see everything the NFL has to offer. The easiest way to do that is with premium channels, such as the NFL Network and NFL RedZone.
Aside from Sling TV, the NFL Network and NFL RedZone can be enjoyed through PlayStation Vue’s Core package and FuboTV’s Sports Plus option.
Those services aren’t cheap. PlayStation Vue can cost up to $80 per month. DirecTV Now has plans that hit $75 per month. FuboTV is the most affordable of the three, with prices ranging between $40 and $45.
The NFL has been offering a service called NFL Game Pass since 2015. It allows fans to stream games after they’ve aired. That won’t help you experience the NFL’s offerings live, but when you’re binge-watching the games of up to 32 teams, it can be useful.
NFL Game Pass can be viewed on your smart mobile device or TV. There is a free trial and the service is affordable at only $100 a year.
Another way to experience games offered in other markets is through a virtual private network. Using a VPN, you can “trick” the internet into believing that you are in another area by accessing servers from around the world.
If you are a die-hard New York Giants fan but live in Texas, you don’t have to give up on Big Blue in favor of their hated rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. Just use one of our best VPN providers to pretend like you’re in the Big Apple to keep enjoying your home team.
How to Watch NFL Games for Free
If you’re a football aficionado who does not want to pay to watch games, there are ways to do so, but you might be skirting the law.
Reddit is the place to go when you’re looking for a live stream to watch an NFL game for free. A good centralized location to find the most reliable streams is r/nflstreams. There are up-to-date links posted for all games, along with recommendations and reviews from others who have tried them.
If you’re going to be accessing illegal content, it’s important to make sure that you are protecting yourself with the best antivirus software on the market in addition to using a VPN, such as ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).
Once you’re watching the games, you’ll want to make sure you have one of the best pop-up blockers, as well, so you’re not getting interrupted by spam ads.
How to Watch NFL Games on Kodi
Kodi is a popular home theater application that is available on many platforms. You can read about it in our Kodi guide. It is a “blank slate” media player, that can help you enjoy everything from movies to music. For step-by-step instructions on installation, setup and use, check out our guide on how to use Kodi.
It’s important to remember that Kodi is just a system for playing media. To access content, you have to use add-ons. Some are on the up-and-up, created by companies as a way to legitimately stream their content. There are also many third-party add-ons that carry pirated media. For more on the shady side of Kodi, read our article about whether Kodi is legal.
There are many add-ons that allow viewers to stream sporting events. To find out more, read our guide to the best Kodi add-ons for sports. The NFL is difficult to watch, though.
Several official Kodi add-ons allow American football fans to enjoy their favorite teams. NFL.com and NFL Game Pass can be accessed on Kodi.
NFL.com is a free application that gives you the highlights, recaps and information you could get via the league’s website. It’s a great way to remain in the know, but its content is posted after the games have aired.
NFL Game Pass offers full broadcast replays and 45-minute condensed games from various angles. Like the official website’s app, there is no way to use it to watch live streams, so you may find yourself avoiding spoilers like the plague until they are posted.
Unfortunately, thanks to cable TV and streaming contracts, the only way to stream live NFL content on Kodi is through third-party add-ons. If you’re okay with pirated content, then there are a few options to consider.
SportsDevil is one of the few add-ons that support live sports streaming. You can access the NFL through it, along with many other sports from around the world. It will geoblock you, though, so you will need to use one of the best VPN providers to access content outside of your geographic area.
That said, there is risk involved with using SportsDevil, as it exists in many different repositories. One wrong click could infect your system with malware, so be careful.
Another popular live streaming add-on is cCloud, which isn’t just for sports. It includes general live TV, as well. The service has a leg up on SportsDevil, too, because it features an on-demand library, so you still have options if you can’t watch a game live.
You don’t have to remain under the yoke of a cable company to continue enjoying NFL games. There are many reliable ways to enjoy the gridiron greats of the NFL for years to come.
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Do you stream your favorite NFL team’s games? Do you use a VPN to stay on top of contests from all over the U.S.? What add-ons do you prefer on Kodi? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.