I hope you've enjoyed your summer, because the coming of another set of NFL and NCAA football seasons means that summer is rapidly on its way out. Not to worry though, because while the temperatures outside are soon to get chilly, we've got a number of apps to warm the heart of any football fan as the 2012-2013 season gets underway! If you're anything like me - as excited as you are for football season - it can take a couple weeks of pre-season to fully acknowledge that A) another summer has flown by; B) that summer bod you'd promised yourself still remains elusive; and C) that I'm not nearly as well-informed as I'd like to be on my teams and the landscape of the upcoming season. I'll openly admit that my allegiance has always been with the NCAA versus the NFL, even with all the tumult of the infamous BCS ranking system (Can you say "playoffs?") However, I acknowledge that for the most part, I'm in the minority. NFL conversation still seems to rule the airwaves and the water coolers of America, so I'll most assuredly provide my recommendations to the pros as well!
Without further 'ado,' grab your iPhone, Android device, iPad or tablet and get ready to test out some apps that'll make it easier to be informed 24-7, have access to exclusive content and analysis, and of course, provide you with all sorts of ammunition when "talking shop" with the fans in your life.
ESPN Score Center If you're a sports fan of any type, you may already be familiar with this app. Simply put - it's a workhorse. This app has you covered on everything from baseball, football and basketball to hockey, soccer or even, my old high school and college sport, lacrosse. Oh, and did I mention it follows these sports at the NCAA, pro and even some international league levels? Well, it does. This gives you box scores, play-by-play, news, video recaps and the ability to customize the interface to focus on the sports, leagues and/or teams you're most interested in. (Available from the App Store and Google Play)
Team Stream (from Bleacher Report) This app is pretty simple, but really informative. While it provides a few select stories that rotate at the top of the home screen, the home screen is customizable by adding in teams you're looking to follow. For every team you add, it adds a button that navigates you to all sorts of analysis, scouting, recaps and even tweets pertaining to the team. Much like the ESPN Score Center, this app has a wide range of sports covered as well as individual teams. Looking for the latest horse racing scores? How about the most up-to-date MMA news? Well, Team Stream has you covered! It may not be the slickest, flashiest app out there, but it'll certainly give you all the knowledge needed to drop on coworkers or friends the next time the conversation turns sporty. (Available from the App Store and Google Play)
NFL '12 This app has all the essentials: scores, stats, news, updates and customizability for your fave teams. If you opt-into the Audio Pass feature (alas, an additional charge) you'll even be able to get live commentary and analysis on your iPad as well as Fantasy Live, Thursday Night Football Live and Video highlights. Not only are some of the features pretty exciting, but the app functionality is easy and well-designed. That's always a nice perk when you know you're likely to spend hours keeping-current, from first kickoff to last ticks of the clock. (Available from the App Store and Google Play)
Sunday Ticket (Available only to subscribers of DirectTV's NFL Sunday Ticket Max) I'll be honest, given that I'm not a DirectTV subscriber, I didn't have access to this app. However, I did more than a little reading-up on it and I can tell you I'm much more tempted to get DirectTV now! This free mobile add-on (so long as you're a DirectTV NFL Sunday Ticket Max subscriber) allows you to watch any (yes, any) NFL game streaming to your phone. While the amazing distinction of this app is the access to all the games in your hand, it also has a full breakdown of scores, analysis and schedule as well as an "instant stats" feature which can come in mighty handy for the die-hard fantasy football coach in your life. (Available from the App Store and Google Play)
ESPN College Football This is a new app from ESPN for the 2012-2013 season and I'll openly admit...I'm completely sold. (Like walking-along-the-sidewalk-bumping-into-people "sold"!) Partly this is because most apps that cover NCAA football also cover about a million other sports as well, so truly dedicated exclusive content and analysis is hard to come by. But, this app not only has "Top Stories", "Scores", "Video", "News", "Rankings", "Standings", "Teams", "Bowl Bound", a "Watch ESPN" feature and Fantasy Challenges sections, but, it also has a customizable section to add your favorite teams. (Available from the App Store and Google Play)
These are only a handful of the rapidly-growing apps on the market for football. What are your favorite ways to keep on top of the action with your smartphone?