Eli Manning and the New York Giants kick off the new NFL season tonight against Dallas. Follow along with all the season’s action, real or fantasy, from your phone. Image: Matt York, AP
The first regular-season NFL game is today, and that means you have 17 weeks to whip your fantasy team into shape and plan your playoff beard. Whether you’re looking for a way to follow your favorite team, track game-day stats, manage your fantasy team, or combat those dreaded NFL blackouts, these apps can help you stay on top of it all until Super Bowl XLVII. And all of them are free, at least to start with.
1. NFL Mobile (iPhone, Android)
This is a one-stop shop for NFL junkies. It delivers game highlights, scores, schedules, news, blogs, and fantasy league updates. Upgrading to the premium version for $5/month lets you live-stream games and gets you on-the-go access to the NFL Network. Unfortunately, it’s available only for Verizon subscribers.
2. NFL ’12 (iPhone, Android)
The NFL’s official app for the 2012 season lets you create personalized push notifications for your favorite teams. You can also get live scores and statistics, watch game highlights, listen to podcasts, and read the latest news. Paid subscribers ($1.99/month or $9.99 for the whole season) can watch NFL Fantasy Live and Thursday Night Football Live on their mobile devices.
3. NFL Sunday Ticket (iPhone, Android)
With this app, DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket Max subscribers can stream any Sunday afternoon game (no primetime games) on their mobile devices. The app won’t save you from local-market blackouts, but it’s an essential supplement to any Sunday Ticket subscription.
4. NFL Game Day Monitor – Fantasy (Android)
The ultimate fantasy football manager, NFL Game Day Monitor lets you keep tabs on your fantasy teams 24/7 with live NFL and Fantasy Football scoring. Get the latest news, track players, and even import your teams from Yahoo, ESPN, and NFL.com. There are also detailed statistics for each player, headlines and fantasy news, and league scores and standings.
5. Football Pro ’13 (WP 7)
This is the best NFL-specific app we’ve found for Windows Phone users. No video streaming here, but you can listen to live radio coverage of games. You also get scores and stats, team news, fantasy predictions, and podcasts. Choose two players from any team to get side-by-side statistics.
6. NFL.com Fantasy Football 2012 (iPhone, Android)
You get real-world scores, news, and injury reports here, but all in service of your fantasy team. Actually, this app lets you manage multiple fantasy teams. You can’t draft players, but you can finalize your lineup by trading, benching, or starting players, then follow them all in real time.