As someone who likes spending my Sundays (and Monday nights, and even Thursday nights) watching football, but also someone who doesn’t have cable, sometimes something as simple as catching a game can turn into a long, drawn-out process that ultimately makes my blood boil more than it did in the 2019 NFC Championship game (but that’s another story). I got rid of cable a few years ago, my house is a little too far out of range to pick up the over-the-air feed, and I can’t justify spending loads of money on a package just for football, so for a long time I was out of options. Or so I thought.
Prior to the start of the 2022 season, the NFL retooled the Game Pass app into NFL+, an over-the-top sports streaming service that allows you to watch primetime games, and whatever games your local channels broadcast on Sunday, on your phone. With some pretty cool features, a low price-point, and the ability to watch games without having to boot up three different apps, I decided to give it a shot. Here’s how it’s going so far…
Like: Being Able To Watch Football Games On My Phone
Remember those Sundays back in the day when you had to record games on an old worn-out VHS tape because you had some kind of social obligation that would take you away from the TV? Well, that’s not really a problem thanks to NFL+, because you can watch an assortment of live games (whichever matchups your local channels carry) on your phone or mobile device.
This feature has come in handy a couple of times so far this season, and didn’t require me to ask my daughter to stop watching CoCo Melon so I could use the living room TV. I was able to go outside and try to block out the yard work that was in desperate need of attention by watching parts of a couple games.
Annoys Me: Not Being Able To Watch Live Games Through NFL+ On My TV
Watching football on the phone is great and all, but it doesn’t compare to watching it on a massive TV screen. But, NFL+, as pointed out on the app’s website (opens in new tab), doesn’t allow you to watch live games on the TV. Sure, you can watch replays of games (more on that later), watch the NFL Network, and check out other coverage, but no live games.
I know, I know, there are some weird rules when it comes to watching living sporting events on TV without a cable package, but I have no problem watching the NFL on CBS with my Paramount+ subscription, nor do I have issues watching the NBC primetime games with Peacock Premium. This kind of rule is one of my biggest gripes with professional sports coverage. Don’t get me started on MLB’s blackout rules either.
Like: Having Access To Multiple Radio Feeds For Each Game
Another aspect of NFL+ that I’ve been digging so far is the inclusion of multiple radio feeds for each live game. I can’t tell you how refreshing it has been to hear the hometown broadcast for the New Orleans Saints (even if it’s just to hear some southern accents) the first few weeks of the season. Each game also features the opponent’s radio broadcast as well as the national feed of whichever game you’re taking in.
Being able to listen to the games is really nice when you’re working in the yard, doing stuff around the house, or driving in the car and can’t really dedicate time to watching the game. Now they just need to come up with an easy way to have the radio feed play over the video of the national broadcast and we’ll be set.
Annoys Me: The Radio Feeds Aren’t Available After The Game Ends
Listening to the radio broadcast for each game is great, and really gives you a better feel of the teams and the communities that support them. However, once the game is over, there is no archived replay to listen later on. The NFL+ Premium plan gives you access to years of game films and the sort, but there is no way to listen to the game later in the day or check out a classic matchup from a decade or so ago.
Hopefully this is something that is addressed in the future, because it would be nice to check out how your favorite team’s home broadcast handled a massive moment from the game after the fact.
Like: The Multiple Game Replay Options, Including The ‘All 22’ Camera Angle
I initially found this out the hard way, but there are two different versions of NFL+, one is cheaper ($4.99/month) that gives you access to live games and a premium option ($9.99/month) that gives you everything the service has to offer similar to the HBO Max subscription situation. At first, I signed up for the cheaper version and was bummed out to discover I couldn’t watch replays. But when I reconfigured my plan, a.k.a. paid more money, a whole new world of replays opened up.
It’s cool to be able to watch the full or condensed versions of the day’s games, but the real kicker here is the “All 22” or “Coach Cam” that is essentially a birds-eye view of all the action. As the “All 22” name suggests, you see every player on the field at any given time. There isn’t any audio with this feed, but this is a great option for those who want to see all the nuance and complexity of each down game later on.
Annoys Me: The App Is Still Glitchy With Performance Issues
NFL+ is a relatively new app and so it should come as no surprise that there are some issues when it comes to the service’s performance, especially when so many people are using it Sunday afternoons. So far, these issues have ranged from games not loading and instead endlessly buffering until I restart the app, to dropdown menus getting all wonky when I’m switching through weeks.
Again, these issues aren’t enough to get me cancel my subscription in a fit of rage or throw my phone to the ground, but they are annoying at times.
Is NFL+ a perfect app? Far from it. Is it a terrible app? No, not at all. For the price, features, and ability to watch games pretty much anywhere with wifi or a cell signal, it’s a great addition for anyone who wants to watch live sports on the go. But, please note, you’ll need cable or an internet TV service like YouTube TV if you want to watch things on the 2022 Fall TV schedule besides football.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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