Are you ready for some football? The American style that is.
Tomorrow kicks off the start of the National Football League's 2015 Season when the New England Patriots face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The full slate of games follows this coming Sunday and to help you keep up with all the NFL action, there are several quality NFL apps available in the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Store.
The offerings include apps to keep up with stats, standings and news, as well as apps to help you manage your fantasy football team. We sifted through the selection and pulled together a sampling from each Store for today's roundup.
We will not be including general sports apps such as MSN Sports or the ESPN app. These apps do cover the NFL nicely, as well as other sports, but we wanted to focus on apps that were specific to the NFL. I would like to mention the WatchESPN app though. It is a great way to catch sporting events from your Windows Phone or Windows device when you don't have access to a proper television set.
We probably missed one or two that might be your favorite and if that is the case, toss out your recommendation in the comments below.
1. NFL on Windows
NFL on Windows is the new kid on the block and definitely has a head-turning feature. Billed as being the ultimate live game day companion, the Windows 10 app allows you to track your favorite teams and fantasy players. The app has personalized notifications as big plays happen and the ability to catch in-game highlights from around the League.
The head-turning feature is the app's Next Generation Replay. Not only can you view streaming videos of big plays but the app will also break down the play with an animated X's and O's illustration. The 3D virtual field charts every player's moves and offers three playback speeds and three camera angles. You can also key in on the movements of a select group of key players involved in the play.
While the rest of the app may seem anti-climatic compared to the Next Generation Replay, NFL on Windows does have a few additional, solid features. They include the ability to tag team or teams as your favorites, access your NFL.com Fantasy Football League, see all the scores and scheduled games and be sent to the game page (via internet browser) for all the details on the game.
NFL on Windows is laid out in traditional Windows 10 fashion with a sidebar menu that is expanded by clicking on the hamburger button. It is a very attractive companion app to have at your side as you watch the games to keep up with your fantasy holdings or to break down the big plays.
2. NFL Mobile
Touted as the best, pure football app for any fan, the redesigned Official NFL app delivers breaking NFL news, up to the minute scoring, in-game highlights and more to your Windows Phone and Windows device.
The NFL Mobile app has five main areas of focus that include:
- News Stories
- Game scores and schedules
- Team and individual stats
- Access to the NFL Network (Cable provider login required)
- Video Highlights
You also have access to the NFL Pro Shop where you can buy the latest NFL licensed merchandise including jerseys, t-shirt and other gear. It is a web portal but a convenient way to pick up an official jersey or t-shirt from your favorite NFL team.
The main page for NFL Mobile for both the Windows and Windows Phone version greets you with the top NFL news stories and a team roster that you can use to filter the stories out by a specific team. Both versions take advantage of the hamburger menu for navigation between the key areas of the app.
Settings allow you to turn on/off the app's push notifications, location services options and using a preferred team setting. The preferred team setting will let you choose a favorite team or teams that will add a team page(s) to the news feed for quick access.
It has been a while since I last visited the Official NFL app and have to say the remodeled version delivers a clean, informative app to both the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Store.
3. ESPN Fantasy Football
Fantasy sports teams are a huge industry and it probably doesn't get any bigger than NFL Fantasy Football. There are a few fantasy football apps available in the Windows 10 and Windows Phone Store and for this roundup we went with the Windows Phone app from the worldwide leader in sports - ESPN Fantasy Football.
If you participate in an ESPN Fantasy Football League, the app is a must have. It is a handy way to monitor your team's performance, manage your rosters and view fantasy news, videos and tweets from ESPN fantasy football analysts.
Team management tools include:
- Start of bench players
- Add, drop and claim players off waivers
- Propose, accept or reject trades with other team owners in your league
You also have the ability to post and view messages that are on your league's message board. It does bear noting that the ESPN Fantasy Football app will only tap into your current ESPN Fantasy Football team and will not give you access to past teams.
The app is a little dated and only available for Windows Phones, but still does a nice job of things. The ESPN Fantasy Football app isn't the only game in town and if you have an alternative Windows Phone or Windows app to recommend, feel free to toss it out below in the comments.
4. NFL Sunday Ticket
NFL Sunday Ticket may be a tad on the restrictive side in that only NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers will have access to the app. While that's not great news for non-subscribers if you are an NFL Sunday Ticket holder, the Windows Phone and Windows app can come in handy.
The NFL Sunday Ticket app will let you stream live, out-of-market NFL games every Sunday afternoon. You will also have access to the DirectTV Fantasy Zone channel that offers live game-to-game fantasy analysis and real-time stats that are powered by NFL.com Fantasy. You will also have the ability to track your NFL.com fantasy league.
The Red Zone Channel delivers the final yards of every scoring drive from around the league. Additional features include stats, scores and schedules for the NFL and receive alerts for your favorite players. NFL Sunday Ticket will also remember where you left a live stream and resume the live action when you return.
It should be noted that NFL Sunday Ticket is available for customers in the U.S. territories only. A DirectTV account and DirectTV NFL Sunday Ticket Max or NFLSundayTicket.TV subscription is required. NFL blackout rules and conditions apply and streaming for out-of-market games are available for the 1pm ET and 4pm ET Sunday games. Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games are not a part of the package. You can find out all the details on NFL Sunday Ticket here at DirectTV.
5. NFL Now
NFL Now delivers streaming news videos of your favorite NFL teams, players and coaches to your Windows Phone and Windows computer. The app includes exclusive interviews and stories on your favorite team, breaking news on players and access to the NFL Films archives.
Along with hundreds of new videos, added daily, key features of NFL Now include:
- NFL Now Highlights: Real-time highlights delivered on game day for every game and NFL.com Fantasy match-up
- NFL Now Archive: Unlimited, ad-free access to the NFL Films vault
- NFL Team Channels: Each of the 32 NFL Teams have their own channel dedicated to the full range of streaming videos (news, highlights, stories, etc.)
You also have access to NFL features such as Hardknocks, Undrafted and In Their Own Words.
Registration is required to access several of NFL Now's features such as creating your own streaming channel, tagging an NFL team as a favorite, participate in NFL fantasy games and create/manage alerts. While the app and registration are free, the NFL Now Archive and Highlights features will require a monthly subscription.