The arrival of Labor Day can only mean one thing: football is back! Yes, we've talked about global football on this site before since it returns sooner, but this time we mean American football in all its glory.
College football has been as wild as ever right out of the gate, with three top 10 teams falling in the first week and another one in a tough game as this post was being written. The 2016 NFL season is right around the corner too, kicking off Thursday night with a championship rematch.
The question is whether you're ready for the season. And we mean really ready. We'd suggest that that you aren't unless you're rolling with the right apps. We've got five free suggestions to ensure you're as prepared for football in every aspect as you could possibly be.
(download for free from the App Store)
The NFL used to have a confusing mix of mobile apps, but the most popular pro sports league in America finally got its act together on that front. The official app gives you a ton of video content, live scores and stats when games are being played, and much more. Verizon customers can get extra goodies, including Red Zone for a small monthly fee, and subscribers of certain cable companies can enjoy similar upgrades. There's no reason not to have this on your iPhone or iPad if you're a football fan.
ESPN also had two separate apps once upon a time for its video and news. No longer, as this app is all you need to see tons of college football live on the weekend. You'll need a valid cable login to do so, but it's totally worth it as you'll never find yourself without a game to watch on Saturdays. Plus it goes without saying that the Worldwide Leader is on top of scores and stats from pro and college gridiron action.
Football cards are great, but they've become something of a hobby best enjoyed if you have plenty of disposable income and lots of room for storage. NFL Huddle by Topps takes both of those elements out of the equation by giving you free coins every day (though you can, of course, spend money too) and giving fans the pack-opening experience without the worries over physical storage. Super fun and well worth checking out.
There are multiple blog networks that cover football from top to bottom, but I'm somewhat partial to this one (Disclosure: FanSided is my full time employer, so yes, I'm biased). FanSided has individual blogs for every NFL team, every major college program, and terrific general football sites like NFL Spin Zone and Saturday Blitz. The app lets you customize exactly the content you'd like to see, so if it's football you want, you'll have everything you can handle here.
NBC has two great brands when it comes to football: Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame home games. If either or both of those tickle your fan fancy, you'll want to make sure you have the official NBC Sports app on all of your devices. Again, you'll need the login info from your cable or satellite TV provider, but assuming you have that, you're ready to rock each weekend all fall long.