For at least the past couple decades millions of Americans have spent their Sunday afternoons in the fall tuned into their televisions to catch their favorite NFL teams play American Football. Fans love the action pack plays presented to them on their HDTVs and the excitement that comes with each weeks opponent.
One thing that has changed recently for NFL fans is the number of ways that fans stay involved with the NFL. Technology hasn’t just provided a better picture for watching the game, its also created new and different ways to connect with players, teams, and game information. Apple has been a major contributor to new technological means over the past 10 years and their devices and software are being used more and more on Sunday.
The NFL on the iPhone
I’ll be honest in that I can’t believe how often I check in on the NFL via my iPhone on Sundays. With the always connected and since its always with me I’m just a tap away from finding out everything I need to know about what’s happening in the NFL. iPhone Apps from ESPN and other sports networks allow you to catch the latest scores, stats, and news.
Fantasy Football is also a major part of iPhone use on Sundays. Yahoo for example offers a free fantasy football application on the iPhone. ESPN and NFL.com also offer apps to connect to your Fantasy Football leagues, but these apps cost $4.99.
Earlier this year I even watched half the Redskins vs. Houston game on my iPhone with the help of SlingBox. the picture quality wasn’t HD by any means but it let me see what was happening when it was happening while I was a passenger in a car traveling up I-95.
The NFL on the iPad
The iPad offers everything available to iPhone owners but has a few extra features made for the larger screen. EA Sports released this year an incredible version of Madden 2011. The game offers almost all the features you’d find in the Xbox, Wii, or Nintendo DS versions of the game but offers some enjoyable touch screen based functionality. Personally, I love that I can draw hot routes for a receiver on the iPad before the snap or switch up the defense to offer help when there is 1 on 1 coverage for Randy Moss. The game lets me get ready for weekly match-ups or fill my NFL fix during the week.
NBC Sports also has made a Sunday Night Football All Access App that lets you keep track of the game day stats and stories. Additionally, users can watch the Sunday Night matchup from within the iPad Safari browser. Just navigate to this page on your iPad and enjoy the high quality HTML 5 broadcast of the game.
I see each week Offenses and Defenses from teams across the league look at pictures of formations and plays that are going on during the game. The images are used to help explain to players where they should match-up, what they should adjust to, and how to exploit weaknesses in opponents. I don’t think it will be long before coaches will be holding iPads and using them to show the recent images, drawing their new coverage routes and responsibilities so players can quickly see where they should go and what they should do. I asked an NFL quarterback about this specifically a few weeks ago that i know has an iPad and he didn’t see any reason that would stop them from using the new technology. If an App Developer wants to get connected to the NFL, then build this app. I don’t expect it to be too difficult.
The NFL on a Mac
Apple’s new mobile products aren’t the only way to enjoy NFL Sundays. You can catch Sunday Night Football on your Mac with Silverlight installed at Sunday Night Football Extra. Just open up your preferred browser, click the link and enjoy the evening match-up.
Fantasy Football is also accessed on my Mac continually through the day on Sunday. Not only am I checking scores and stats, but I’m sending trash talking messages to the rest of the league (At 5 – 0 this year I find myself talking a lot of trash).
The NFL on AppleTV
The only Apple product that is lacking in NFL interactivity is AppleTV. The inability to watch live or even taped games on an AppleTV is a major issue. I want my sports live, and until Apple or someone else solves this issue then I’ll be attached to my monthly TV service. Hopefully the NFL and Apple come to an agreement quickly and I can enjoy the NFL on all my Apple Products.