The 2014 NFL season starts tonight. If you’re in central Pennsylvania like I am, it feels more like it should be around the MLB All-Star Break instead, but the September heat isn’t doing anything to diminish my enthusiasm for the new campaign.
I’m sure you’ve got everything planned out as far as where and when to watch football, but how about some apps to go with it? Let’s face it, there are a lot of football-related apps out there, and it’s tough to sift through them all to find some that are worthwhile.
No one can say they’ve tried them all — I certainly haven’t — but here are five apps I see myself using frequently during the NFL season:
Like a lot of people, I was a little skeptical when this one launched. Its ratings are still pretty sorry, especially on iOS, because people don’t like the fact that it makes you pay for the really good stuff, including access to the incredible NFL Films video library on demand.
Still, the NFL is putting too much effort into this app to let it fail, and I think it’ll just get better and better as the 2014 season goes on. Some of the things that annoyed me at first, like the “Need to Know” videos that pop up as soon as you log on, are helpful now that the season is actually upon us. And if you play your fantasy football through NFL.com, it’s even handier.
Yeah, most fantasy football drafts are already done. But if you’re in a league like I am that drafts the night of the opening game, or you participate in late season or playoff-based fantassy games, spend the $5 and spring for Draft Dominator. It’s so flexible and easy to use that it’s worth every penny.
Even once the drafting is done, there’s a widget inside the app that gives you quick access to relevant fantasy info like who was practicing this week. I can see myself using it for the rest of 2014.
This is a game, not just an app, and it just came out today, so I can’t vouch for it 100 percent just yet. Still, I came away impressed enough by the plans the Zynga Sports 365 have for this mobile NFL management sim that I’m excited to use it to try my hand at running a pro football franchise.
I did mention that it’s free-to-play, right? It also has fantasy football features baked in, giving you even more reasons to root for players who aren’t on your favorite real life team. You know, just in case you needed some more.
If only this app had been around during the heyday of Chad Ocho Cinco. He would have loved it.
SportsManias describes itself as “a faster Bleacher Report with ESPN quality,” and while that might be leaning a tad toward hyperbole, since it is, at heart, simply an aggregator, it does have some cool features I’m anxious to see in action during the NFL season: like the ability to get a stream of tweets from opposing teams’ beat writers. There’s a dedicated Rumors section if you like the sports gossip, and the interface is clean. Some Android users have reported some device compatability issues, so heads up if you are planning on downloading it for Android.
Full disclosure: I work for FanSided. You are reading this on a FanSided site. Consider this my equivalent of homerism when you’re listening to your local team’s radio broadcast.
It’s like having active blogs for every NFL team right at your fingertips — heck, that’s exactly what it is — plus the excellent NFL Spin Zone general pro football blog to boot. It’s easy to navigate and can be set to use your location to feed you only local stuff if that’s all you care about. Plus it’s free.