Monday, September 13, 2010

Best iPad Apps To Follow NFL Games

So, you're running around on Sunday when you'd rather be at home watching NFL games.  Well, there are cool apps you can get to follow the games.

If money is no object, then you could get SlingPlayer Mobile [iTunes link] for your iPhone (of course, you will need the Slingbox hardware) or if you subscribe to DirecTV's Sunday ticket there's an iPhone app [iTunes link] and iPad app [iTunes link] for that.

If you don't actually need to WATCH the live broadcast of the game, and you have an iPad there's several FREE solutions.  Now, you can use these same apps on your iPhone but I feel that you'd want to save your iPhone battery for things like making calls.

Yahoo! Sportacular HD [iTunes link] - This is my favorite of the bunch.  It was very useful to follow games while I was having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Back when I only had an iPhone, Sportacular was one of my favorite sports apps.  Now, Yahoo! has its name on it and it is a really good iPad app.

In its dropdown menu of sports, right now there's only the NFL, MLB and NCAA Football.  I'm sure more will crop up as the seasons get closer.  But, for football, this is all you need.

For the NFL, it's easy to choose the week that you're following and then tap on the game you want.  I think this app provides the MOST amount of game stats although you cannot click on players to get their season stats.  There's also a graphic of the football field to show the last play.  There's also an auto-refresh option to refresh anywhere from every 10 seconds to every 90 seconds.  Or, you can turn that off and refresh manually.  And there's a revolving billboard that gives some movement to the screen that I really like.  There's a lock button to stop that if it's irritating to you.

In the iPhone version of this app there's a cool chat feature but it's not found on the iPad version.  Too bad.

There's not much else to this app, but if you're only following the games it's more than enough.

theScore iPad Edition [iTunes link] - This is another great app for the iPad and probably my favorite on the iPhone.

I would say that this is the best sports NEWS app as it is very comprehensive.  In addition to the NFL, it also follows MLB, college football, CFL, NBA, college basketball, NHL and the major soccer leagues around the world.  There's also sports video podcasts and links to their blogs.

For the NFL games, this also shows a lot of game stats plus you can tap on the player names to get some season stats along with a picture.  It also has an article previewing the game and a post-game article recapping the game.  The main downside to this app is a lack of auto-refresh.  Plus, with the bright white background it is a little hard on the eyes and in some dark places it may call too much attention to yourself.

The iPhone version of this app also has a live chat feature that doesn't require a login.  I hope this feature gets put in the iPad apps.

SportsTap [iTunes link] - This could very well be the oldest iOS sports app.  It was around before even ESPN started making apps.  After a few more sports apps were made SportsTap fell by the wayside because of a lack of features.  But, how is the iPad app?

This is similar to theScore in the sense that it covers a lot of different sports.  Unlike the other apps this does auto-refresh but there doesn't appear to be a way to customize that.  You can also manually refresh.

This is a very "vanilla" app with a scoring summary, team comparison and player stats.  There's a little graphical football field but it's really tiny.  There's also pictures of the game as you go along.  This is a good "no-nonsense" app for those who really want to follow scores and the scoring drives.

CBS Sports Pro Football for iPad [iTunes link] - This is an NFL only app for the iPad.  It also has a fantasy football component if your league is with CBS.  There's also NFL headlines, videos and video previews and recaps.

When you click onto a game, there's a beautiful 3-D field with the drive summaries.  It also has the passing, rushing, and reception leaders for each team.  Tapping the leaders bar and you get the point, sack and interception leaders for each team.  Tapping the team helmet you get a complete box score.  I'm not sure if it auto-refreshes or if it just isn't auto-refreshing when I checked it out.  But, that was the main downside of this app.

If you insist on using your iPhone all of the apps I featured above has a free iPhone version.  There's also ESPN ScoreCenter [iTunes link], which is a free but underfeatured app.   There's also Game Center 2010 [iTunes link] which is an overpriced ($4.99) and underfeatured app.  There's also a lite version [iTunes link] if you want to try it out.

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