After months of waiting it’s that time of the year again and football is back. Just because you cut the cord and canceled cable doesn’t mean you have to miss out on sports. This guide will show you how to watch NFL Football games without cable. In fact, we’ll teach you a few different ways to catch the game whether that’s streaming or something else.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to watching NFL games is something called a paywall. Popular apps like Fox Sports Go, NBC Sports or WatchESPN require a cable subscription login. So if you’re using a cable TV alternative like FuBoTV, you likely can’t use those apps.
Luckily, those aren’t the only way to watch NFL games live or online. In fact, for the 2018-19 NFL season, the easiest way to watch games will be on your smartphone, for free. Plus, below we’ve gathered six other great ways to watch your team on Sunday, Monday, or TNF.
How to Watch NFL Football Games Without Cable
We’ll be honest, even with cable it’s hard to catch every game. Regional restrictions and black-outs frustratingly aren’t going anywhere. That said, if you’re looking to save money or ditch those expensive cable contracts, here are your options.
One of my personal favorites is Sling TV from Dish, which is live TV streaming over the internet. Sling TV can completely replace your cable bill and it’s only $25 a month with no contracts. You can easily pay another $5-10 a month for add-on sports or movie packs, and they offer a lot of sports. Plus, you can sign into WatchESPN with Sling TV, unlike the others, and catch NCAA Football on the go too.
In fact, Sling TV is one of the best for sports because they have NFL Network, RedZone, Fox Sports, FS1, FS2, ESPN and much more. The base package has over 33+ premium channels for $25. Then, Sling offers DVR recording, multi-user streaming and more.
Additionally, Sling TV works almost anywhere and everywhere. Whether that’s on your TV, or by signing in on your phone, laptop, tablet, computer or even a web browser. It also works with streaming boxes, Amazon Firestick or TV, Roku, Xbox, PS4 and more.
After you add-on popular movie and sports packages you can easily get up to $40-50 a month, but it’s still more affordable than cable. Actually, at only $25 a month, you’ll spend the same amount after the entire season as most people spend monthly with Cox, DirecTV, or Comcast.
Yahoo! Sports (And Other Mobile Apps)
For years the only way to watch the NFL on a smartphone was to use Verizon Wireless and pay for NFL Mobile. That’s no longer the case. In early 2018 Verizon Wireless and the NFL signed a major deal that lets anyone and everyone, regardless of mobile carrier, watch tons of NFL games completely free from a smartphone. Yes, you can watch Football with ANY wireless carrier, for free.
Simply download the Yahoo! Sports app for Android or iOS and hit the “Watch” button near the bottom right. They’ll stream dozens of games this season completely free, including the playoffs, and the likely the Superbowl in 2019.
Personally, I sideloaded Yahoo! Sports to a Chromebook that I mirror to an HDTV. Giving me live NFL Football on the big screen, for free.
You can also get the same free streaming with the new NFL Mobileapp (doesn’t require Verizon) or the Verizon Go90 app. Verizon subscribers get more content inside NFL Mobile, but it’s no longer limited to one carrier. Anyone can use it, whether you have AT&T, T-Mobile or someone else.
It’s worth noting that the official NFL Mobile app has a lot to offer for fans. My favorite is the radio audio feeds for both teams and markets, score alerts, updates, highlights and more. Anyone can download and enjoy most of what it has to offer, on both Android and iOS.
Perhaps the easiest way to watch TV without cable is by using an Antenna. Whether that’s an old-school set of bunny ears or a new HDTV Antenna, they both work. The only problem with this method is the Antenna will only pick up your local team, or in-market games. If you’re a Packers fan living in Las Vegas like me, you can skip this method.
Still, I opted for a TiVo BOLT and a newer HDTV Antenna from Amazon. And while the BOLT isn’t required, you’ll get a better experience. An Antenna will pick up local games and a bunch of other channels. In some instances, the Antenna had better picture quality than cable. Not to mention the BOLT offers DVR recording and apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and more built-in. Making it the only box I need on my TV stand.
You’ll want to make sure you have a good signal and enough space on your roof. If you’re in range of the big networks you’ll never miss a game. I can pick up ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC with this setup. Games are free and most end up in HD too. Another option is this flat indoor HD Antenna.
Additionally, you can watch regional games on Sunday afternoon, Sunday Night Football and select Thursday night games.
Another solid option is using the PlayStation Vue streaming service. And while this costs money, it’s far less than cable and you’ll get access to ESPN, NFL Network and more.
PlayStation Vue has a good choice of channels and it’s a pay-by-the-month. Meaning you can pay for streaming access during the NFL season and cancel whenever you want. There are no contracts. PS Vue is $29.99 a month with ESPN or $34.99 a month with the base package and NFL Network. You can even pay $39.99 a month for all that plus the local channels we mentioned above. Ditching cable and an Antenna for one complete TV and NFL package. It’s similar to Sling TV.
And since you’re paying for PlayStation Vue you’ll likely have access to apps like Fox Sports Go, WatchESPN and others we mentioned at the top of the page. That’s because you’re now a paying subscriber, and can sign-in to get past the paywall on most apps to watch from your phone or tablet.
Or, borrow login credentials from a friend and watch the games you’re interested in.
You’ll need to pass an “eligibility test” first. Basically, if you live in a college dorm, apartment building, or other areas where a DirecTV satellite won’t work, you’re eligible. So while this option isn’t available to everyone, it’s one more thing to try before paying an expensive cable bill.
Oddly enough, I entered in my address a few years ago and was eligible. So even if you think you can get a satellite dish, it’s worth checking just in case. Find out if you’re eligible by clicking here.
Then, new to 2018, DirecTV NOW offers the Sunday Ticket. DirecTV Now is similar to Sling TV, PS Vue, or YouTube TV, and is internet-streaming television. It’s like cutting the cable, but still relying on DirecTV.
NFL Game Pass
Another option is the official NFL Game Pass, although it’s less than ideal and our least favorite alternatives. The way the NFL words its website is a little misleading, so be careful before you sign up.
With NFL Game Pass you’ll get to watch virtually every single NFL game, but only AFTER they air on TV. It’s not live, but an on-demand replay. And while that’s a bummer for some, others won’t mind, plus it has a few benefits and neat features.
NFL GamePass lets you watch pre-season games live, then thousands of current and old games on-demand. So once the game is over, like after you get off work, you can quickly tune-in. We really like the option to watch regular broadcasts like everyone else, or what the NFL calls “condensed” versions without commercials or timeouts. Condensed games last around 45-60 minutes.
Game Pass also has highlights, analysis, coaches films, and access to years and years of games in the NFL archive, and that includes Super Bowls. This costs $99 or you can make four easy payments. One for each month of the regular season. It works on mobile devices too, which is nice.
Last but not least is Google’s TV streaming service, YouTube TV. It works essentially the same as PS Vue or Sling TV and is perfect for Football fans. However, there are a few limitations and restrictions you’ll want to know about.
For $35 a month you’ll get access to everything on YouTube, live TV, on-demand video, DVR features, and more. YouTube TV has access to almost every channel one would need to watch NFL games live. Just look at the list below, and keep in mind that they’re continuously adding more channels.
As you can see above that base price has all the major networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, ESPN, Fox Regional Networks, Fox Sports 1 & 2 and a lot more. NFL Network and RedZone aren’t included, but they don’t stream too many games anyways. And from 2018-2022 Thursday Night Football is on Fox, so you don’t really need NFL Network anymore.
The only problem with YouTube TV is that you’ll run into a lot of regional restrictions while trying to watch games, and most regional affiliates are missing too. All the FS channels will give you plenty of NCAA College Football, so that’s a plus. Try it for free today, and find out if you’re eligible by clicking here.
Now, simply decide which option above works best for you. Either way, they’re all cheaper than spending $150 a month on cable for 2,000 channels you’ll never watch. Enjoy the season, and Go Pack Go!