The Best NFL Apps for the iPad

Keep Up With the NFL on Your Tablet

Are you ready for some football? The NFL season is just around the corner, so it is a great time to do a roundup of NFL apps you can download to your iPad. If you want to follow your favorite team, watch live games, get highlights of games you've missed or even watch the coaches film of games, we've got you covered.

All of these apps are free to download, but some require subscriptions to get at their deeper content. And for watching games lives, you'll need a valid cable provider.

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Getty Images / Ezra Shaw

You don't have to be a hardcore watch-every-game read-every-article NFL fan to love the official NFL Mobile app. This one has just about everything you could want from an app: favorite teams, videos, articles and a live broadcast of the NFL Network for those who have a cable subscription that supports the network. 

The app itself is a little bit on the No-Thrills, which isn't a bad thing in this implementation. While there are no bells and whistles to get you fired up for football, there are also no bells and whistles to get in your way while using the app.

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The NFL app is great if you love to watch the NFL channel, but the player-centric side of the NFL isn't always the first choice for everyone.  If you are more of an ESPN person, and especially if you like to watch more sports than just the NFL, the ESPN app is a must-have download.

The first time you boot up the ESPN app you will be asked about your favorite sports and your favorite teams.  This will help set up some specialized feeds and pages so you can flip right to the news you are interested in reading or watching.  The app contains plenty of video and you can listen in on the Dan show.  And if you have a cable subscription with ESPN, you can watch ESPN right from the app.  However, these on-demand videos aren't quite as extensive as using the official WatchESPN app.

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If you don't mind a lack of bells and whistles, theScore has a great mix of news and information on your favorite sports.  Like the ESPN app, you'll be asked for your favorite sports and teams.  One neat twist: you can also follow your favorite players.

A nice feature of theScore is the initial favorites screen "MyScore" that is a feed of articles and videos curated just for your tastes.  Having this in the initial screen lets you skip straight to the good stuff. 

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Rotoworld Fantasy News

If you view sports through fantasy lenses, you may be more interested in Rotoworld's app.  The news with a fantasy slant, you can choose to follow the players on your fantasy team to get a focused look at what sort of opportunities or challenges you may face week-to-week.  

The app itself is a little compared to the other apps on this list.  The "news" is more suited for a pop-up bubble you would get from a fantasy league manager than an actual news article, which is fine if you are mainly thinking in terms of sit/start.  

However, given how popular fantasy football has become over the years, I was a little surprised there wasn't a more extensive app in this category.

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Fantasy Football

Speaking of fantasy football, do you want to manage your team from your iPad? No problem. The most popular Fantasy Football games have associated apps that will make setting your lineup or grabbing that emerging star from the free agents play pool a snap. Here are a few of the top Fantasy Football apps:

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Watch Live Games on Your iPad

You don't have to be at home or at a sports bar to watch an NFL game these days. There are plenty of options for catching your favorite team while on the go. Unfortunately, these apps are tied to a cable provider, so you'll need to input your information to get them to work.

  • DirectTV Sunday Ticket. If you've paid for Sunday Ticket, you'll definitely want to download this app. Not only can you watch while on the go, you can also use this app to give yourself a second screen while watching at home.
  • WatchESPN. Not only can you catch Monday Night Football on this app, you'll also watch video highlights and news. WatchESPN interacts with the SportsCenter app, so if you are using it to get your NFL news, you'll definitely want Watch ESPN.
  • NBC Sports Live Extra. While NBC is a broadcast network, you'll still need an accepted cable provider to use this app.
  • FOX Sports Go. Like the other apps on this list, you'll need an accepted provider. But it will give you access to games played of FOX.