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Favorite Four: NFL 2012 Season

Posted by Carter Dotson on September 5th, 2012

Are you ready for some football, in particular the 2012–2013 season of the premier American football league, the National Football League? Well, with the season kicking off tonight with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants playing the Dallas Cowboys, I’ve collected four apps to help make the game-watching and fantasy-football-playing experience better. No matter what, they’re better than the replacement refs are going to be!

NFL ’12: The NFL’s official app offers video, including a single screen scoreboard of all the week’s games on the iPad. Get score alerts for individual games. See highlights and analysis videos from NFL.com, along with news stories. Is that significant other clueless about sportball, and expects you to leave the house on Sunday afternoons? Or do you live outside your favorite team’s market, and don’t want to pay for Sunday Ticketwhich costs about as much as operating J.P. Morgan’s yacht? Then for $29.99, you can listen to every game from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

NFL Game Rewind: Every fan of their team has plenty of things to say about what they think they saw while watching. However, there’s a reason why NFL coaches don’t eat buffalo wings and drink beer while coaching, because it doesn’t provide them cogent analysis. So sober up, and subscribe to NFL Game Rewind, a service that provides the ability to rewatch past games on a play-by-play basis. The $69.99 subscription offers even coaches’ film, which will provide more in-depth looks at games, with deeper archives available. The $49.99 subscription offers this year’s games, available commercial-free and in condensed forms, to relive games in short time frames.

Thumb: Fantasy football is an integral part of the football fandom experience. After all, nothing makes a meaningless blowout more exciting than when your wide receiver scores a touchdown in garbage time to win your matchup that week. But deciding who to start is a pain. Why not rely on the wisdom of random internet strangers? Use Thumb’s fantasy football section to post simple thumbs-up-or-down questions on whether someone should be started on your team, and watch as the guy you benched scores 3 touchdowns in one game and the guy you started sets the NFL fumbles record your fantasy team is led to victory by listening to the opinions of others!

Fantasy Football ’12: You’re the Ludacris of fantasy football, in that you have fantasy football teams in different area codes, or at least on ESPN, Yahoo, and NFL.com. If only there was one app that could manage teams on all those different sites! There is! Based off of Fantasy Monster, this is designed solely for managing fantasy teams from all across different leagues. Remember, the more fantasy leagues you’re in, the more likely you’ll be able to call yourself a fantasy football champion.

NFL Flick Quarterback Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Blake Grundman on December 8th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: A SOLID DRIVE
Laces out, Dan! Full Fat Games brings the first of many flick themed football games to iOS.
Read The Full Review »

NFL Pro 2012 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on November 29th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FUMBLED
Gameloft certainly deserves credit for trying to bring a free-to-play game of pro football to iOS, but it misses the mark in more than a few areas.
Read The Full Review »

PrePlay Brings New Meaning To Armchair Quarterbacking

Posted by Blake Grundman on October 10th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It is that magical time of the year where the leaves are changing colors, children have returned to school, and football season has kicked into full swing.  The magical reappearance of the pigskin also brings about massive amounts of time spent in front of the television screen, most likely being paired with yelling and an adult beverage or two.

But what if you could interact with the game happening on screen, instead of just having to just observe like a bump on a log?  No, this isn't talking about coaching the team on the field as much as being able to read a coach's mind.  The new app PrePlay encourages you to do just that, and rewards those that are masters of the precognition.

Competing against friends, the game will completely change the way football is consumed any given Sunday.  There is even a way to smack talk, which will certainly kick the intensity up into another gear.  Give this a look before the season fades away!


Thuuz: Tracking Down The Most Exciting Sports Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on September 19th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

We've all been there. Two sports events are on at once and it's a judgement call to figure out which one to watch and which one to just keep an eye on the score of. While sometimes it's the obvious game with the two big leading teams against each other, other times it's a more subtle David and Goliath style conflict that turns out to be the more exciting game. How to figure out which one as soon as possible though? Maybe Thuuz will be able to help there.

It's an app that, using some unique and mysterious algorithms, figures out the excitement of each game in real-time then rates it on a scale of 0-100. Users pick their favorite sports, teams and players, set their excitement threshold and then the app gets to work.

Currently monitoring a wide variety of sports such as NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Soccer, Cricket, Rugby as well as college sports like Football and Basketball, this app should have sports fans pretty covered for figuring out what to watch.

Further functionality is offered with the ability to watch live games when in the US as well as track down the nearest sports bar to catch the action.

It's a free app so give it a shot and why not report back on how it's gone. Initial feedback is looking pretty darn promising. Finally, this predicament could be solved!

2011 Fantasy Football Calculator & Draft Kit HD

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Kevin Stout on June 8th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: FOR SERIOUS PLAYERS
2011 Fantasy Football Calculator & Draft Kit HD is one of the first fantasy football apps available for the 2011-12 season.
Read The Full Review »

NFL '11 Asks If You Are Ready For Some Football

Posted by Blake Grundman on April 25th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Lets face it, for true football fans there really is no such thing as an offseason. Even with the looming threat of at least a lockout shortened season, the National Football League has gone forward full bore into the player combine and draft season.  With the draft's start a mere handful of days away (April 28th, for those of you that have been living under a rock) the league seems intent on reminding all of the fans that there is still plenty to be excited about in the 2011 NFL season.

Their first step in reinforcing this positive outlooks is the most recent update to the official NFL iPad app, which adds in tons of new draft centric features, all bent on distracting you from any current personnel conflicts.  Some of these new tools include:

  • Watch a live video stream of NFL.com's Draft coverage, which includes live look-ins to Radio City Music Hall as well as exclusive studio analysis

  • Set pick alerts for your favorite team to get updates when you're away from the app

  • Watch exclusive video highlights of the 2011 Combine and Draft

  • Follow each pick with our official Draft Tracker which is updated during the event and includes interactive features such as pick analysis and participant profiles

Included in this already free application is the full schedule for the upcoming 2011 season, pending they get started on time, as well individual news tickers for each team.  This will allow you to pick and chose the coverage that you would like to receive, so that you can maximize your time spent in front of the iPad.

It should also be mentioned that this is the kind of software that is constantly evolving to be meet the needs of the hardcore fans.  So rest assured that if you could ever want something from this kind of application you can bet that it will be coming eventually.  For that reason alone, it should be a permanent fixture on every iPad.  Be sure to give it a download so you can watch every game of the upcoming season in style.


CBS Sports Football for the iPad is Playoff Ready

Posted by Joey Davidson on January 17th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

CBS Sports has updated their football app specifically for the playoffs. And as another playoff weekend arrives, football fanatics and iPad owners both may want to hit the App Store and snag this free application.

Even those that aren’t much for the game with that weird oblong ball may need to check this one out. What better way to stroll into that Super Bowl party you usually only enjoy because of the commercials than to do so sporting your iPad, a sweet new app and all the random season and playoff stats you’ve memorized along the way? Next time you slam dunk those nachos into your pie hole, you’ll do it with a new air of confidence and unending justice.

With CBS Sports Football for the iPad, you’ll be privy to live drive charts for each game, constantly updating stats, play-by-plays, relevant headlines, video clips, message boards and more. All of that content can make this application’s presentation a little too chunky and crowded for some folks’ likings, but stat junkies and those that need to be up-to-date on every playoff moment will likely rejoice. Be warned, however, as some users complain about a little screen lag.

Those among us a bit resistant to change are probably pointing towards their currently installed sports or football specific application as their go-to for gridiron glory. To those fans we toss out this nugget of logic: this application, like many others of the same variety, is completely free. That earns you a free perspective on all the action on the field, post-game, pre-game and throughout CBS’ current football headlines.

That’s right, “it’s good.”

NBA Letting Fans Check In with Turnstile App

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on October 20th, 2010

In an attempt to cash in on the "check in" craze created by Foursquare and its ilk, the NBA has announced Turnstile, a new app which will allow fans to alert their friends when they're attending a game in person or watching on television. Those who consistently check in may be eligible to receive discounts or loyalty rewards at local venues.

“We see location based services as just the tip of the iceberg,” says Bryan Perez, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital. “The more we can integrate people’s location information at games, the more opportunities there are for things like sponsorships,” he says, adding there are no sponsorships for Turnstile in place currently.

The move places the NBA in line with MLB, the NHL and some NFL teams who are all using some sort of social media check in platform to increase fan engagement and interaction. While most of these other leagues are utilizing Foursquare for their social media, Turnstile is being built from the ground-up exclusively for the NBA.

The app is planned to launch in concert with the start of the NBA regular season later this month and will be available for free on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android. Just keep in mind that if your Cleveland friends see you checking into a Miami Heat game you may well find your house vandalized or on fire when you return home.

[via The Wall Street Journal]

ESPN Brings Fantasy Football Draft Tools to iOS

Posted by Blake Grundman on August 31st, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

"It's the most wonderful time, of the year!"  As the popular Christmas tune rings through my head, ironically, I am not thinking about the holidays.  For many men, myself included, the most wonderful time of our year is the kickoff to the fantasy football season.  Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a green rookie, the key to having a good season is having strong draft selections right out of the gate.  Thank goodness ESPN has our backs, recently releasing an awesome new draft tools application for iOS devices.

The 500 top picks and NFL prospects will be at your fingertips, helping to make draft day that much more successful this season.  Here are some of the other features of the application:

  • 2010 Rankings and Projections for 500+ players

  • Player Cards with images, projections and ESPN analysis

  • Players sorted by name, rank, team/bye week and projected points

  • The ESPN bottom-line with the latest sports news and updates

  • Updated rankings delivered to the app as soon as they are available Plus…

  • Better manage the player list with the interactive draft tool

  • Email your draft lists right from the app

  • Get updates all season on every player in fantasy - And much more!

I wish apps like this had existed a couple of years ago when I was just learning the ropes of fantasy football.  It would have been great to have a leg up on my competition, considering they were hell-bent on destroying me anyway.  Either way, it is here now and you better believe that I will be taking advantage of it.

Why a draft specific app, though? Why wouldn't they just integrate this feature into something that could be used all season, instead of just a single week leading up to the kickoff?  I guess we will have to wait and see what else ESPN has up their sleeve.  They are pretty smart folks, so I am  sure they have some sort of world domination plan in the works.

Oh, and one piece of advice if you are participating in a live draft, please make sure you can pronounce your pick's actual name.  You don't want to end up like this guy:

Quest For A Better Football App

Posted by Chris Hall on August 16th, 2010

American football, for a multitude of reasons, just hasn't really translated well onto the iPhone. Football mini-games like Backbreaker Football work fine for the most part, but I (and I assume we) want a real football game, with all the same positions and plays that we could use on the real field. I also want this full game to not be hampered by a joystick or funny hand placement on the screen or odd animations.

The problem that I've found is that developers are completely stuck on the tried and true console simulation. EA, with its successful Madden franchise, just has no reason to change their formula because it sells. I wonder to myself though why? Why does Madden on the iPhone sell? It's priced in the realm of the premium games, and I have a real hard time believing that many people put more than a couple of hours into the game before they set it down for good. The game just isn't right for the iPhone, there's just no other way to put it.

Identifying what the exact problems are might be the first step to created a better iPhone football game, so let's run through them:

  • The virtual joystick (I'm going to list virtual joystick sub-problems as (VJ)) isn't accurate enough to make precise player movements.

  • The screen isn't large enough for all the controls, including the now common receiver bubbles that you have to hit to throw the ball.

  • Current football games tend to sacrifice game play, and game speed, for unnecessary animations

  • (VJ) The running game seems like total luck because it's impossible to make precise movements.

  • (VJ) Playing defense seems like total luck because it's impossible to make skill plays. Timing a pick like you would on a console is totally impossible.

  • (VJ) Because of your hopeless lack of control, picking defensive plays seems like a total wash altogether, leaving me to rely on gimmicks like "Gameflow" that take away any real understanding of how the defense works.

  • The games take so long to play that there is no good way to have a multiplayer mode. It just wouldn't work.
  • The other issue that developers have completely ignored is that fact that the thing that would work the best on the iPhone, the dynasty mode and the draft (even if all the games were simulated). I know that I'm not the only one that could sit there playing dynasty mode without ever playing a single game. People love stats, they love picking players... they just love tinkering with their team. How do you think fantasy football got so big!

    So what I've gathered here is that our new, better football game should:

  • Ditch the virtual joystick altogether

  • Concentrate more on the coaching rather than the playing. Play calling is really what makes the console version of Madden magic. Sure, womping on someone by juking up and down the field is fun, but if your opponent is on your level, there's nothing like throwing a cover 2 zone at a guy that throws slants all day.

  • Add a GM mode to capture all of the fantasy football players out there. I've heard that there are around 30 million of them out there.

  • Find a way to implement a multiplayer mode, and don't settle for anything less than the sports multiplayer greatness that is Homerun Battle 3D.
  • With that said, here's my idea for the next (which would be the first) great football game, NFL RPG. If EA used the idea, it could be called Madden RPG. Tell me that you wouldn't buy that.

    The game, with its emphasis on a dynasty mode and player movement, wouldn't necessarily even need an NFLPA license because your crop of players would likely change after a bit of playing. It would be nice though, so someone needs to figure that part out. Let's take a dive into what the game would do.

    Game Mode 1: Season/Dynasty

    The season/dynasty mode should be the main game mode. The whole concept of a dynasty mode would have to be overhauled though, because even the console versions are becoming a bit much to deal with. Keeping things simple is the key.

    The mode would start with either a draft, consisting of all the league players, or the choosing of which pre-built team you want to play with. Some people don't like the tediousness of a draft, so you can't make them do it. The draft though wouldn't just be like a normal fantasy draft though, it would have to be like a $500-$1000 fantasy auction draft, where each player costs a certain amount of money, has a certain NFL lifespan (let's say 10 years), and you have a set pool of money to deal with. This will make the drafts a bit more intelligent and make monetary transactions later much more interesting. The cost of each player should correlate with their overall skill level, so when a player needs to be re-signed, he should be a set cost per skill rating rather than demand contract negotiations because his player rating became higher.

    The GM overview of everything would get rid of all the stadium upgrades and the contract bonuses and stipulations that make things so rough on the console. The biggest thing that we need to deal with in an RPG is player upgrades, so that is the thing that most need to be addressed. Taking a page from Homerun Battle 3D, you should be able to purchase stats for players based on their actions in games. Raising the stats of each player would be a nightmare though, so players have to be upgraded in groups, with groups being the positions. For example, if Randy Moss catches an 80 yard touchdown, the whole WR crew would get X amount of points to divvy out between the players. You could then give them all to Randy Moss, or you could throw a few at Wes Welker (maybe raise his injury rating) and Torry Holt.

    Throughout the season, some players will get much better, and some will probably be neglected. That's just the nature of a point system. When a players contract is up though, it will be impossible to keep dynasty squads because the players prices will change, making many too expensive to keep. Players will have to make use of trades and dumping off medial players if they want to keep their studs, just like real NFL teams do.

    In the quest to make things simple, it's also very important to keep players stats simple. Give each one of them five or six stat categories, and that's it. For example, a QB should have, arm strength, arm accuracy, pocket awareness, scrambling ability, and leadership. What would these stats do though... we'll have to step into the game itself.

    Gameplay: Offense

    This is where things usually fall apart in typical football simulations, so I'm going to turn it a bit on its head.

    First off, the view needs to be changed to a much more top down view. The player needs to be able to see every player on the field at once, at all times. On deep passing plays, the view needs to dynamically change to a view that can follow the streaking player.

    The offense will set up, per the play call (more on that later), and with a tap you will hike the ball. Players will then run their routes as they normally would (except the receivers would only run their routes as well as their ratings say they will) and the quarterback will automatically drop back into his normal drop back position.

    On passing plays, I'll keep the Madden circle for receiver system that goes from green to red, depending on openness. If your line breaks down, you can make your quarter back scramble, but running will be an automatic process based on the QB's scrambling skill. Same with the running plays. Since there is no tactile feedback on the iPhone, having the player control the running back is just silly. Make the process automatic and the players should be rewarded for good playcalling, not mad juking that no player on Earth could pull off.

    In the backgound, everything that is happening would be based on an average system. A pass would be a calculation of QB throwing speed and accuracy + WR catching ability - DB covering ability/interception ability. Calculations would need to be made for each position battle in the game, as well as every event. Battles would include such things as OL vs. DL, WR vs. DB, RB vs. whoever tries to tackle him, WR vs. whoever tries to tackle him, and QB vs... yeah, you get it. In a way, each action battle, which would be automated and in the background, would be like a combat scene in a typical RPG.

    Like RPG's, there would also be bonus scores for smart things that you do. For example, WR's would get an extra % chance of catching the ball if you throw it to them when they are open. These bonus scores would be very apparent on the defensive side of the ball, which will be all about coaching.

    Gameplay: Defence

    Since there will be no virtual joystick, there will be no controlling of the defense. Your skill will come in your ability to call a good play. It's a fact that certain defensive plays work against certain offenses, so it will be up to you to figure it out. At the beginning of your defensive play, you will see what formation the offense is in, and you will be able to pick a play based on what you see. Different plays will give your players different bonuses during play, or minuses if you pick the wrong play.

    For example, playing dime defense against an obvious running play would result in negative stats, while goal line D on the goal line would give you bonuses.

    Now that the game's worked out, all that's left is the multiplayer.

    As you progress through your seasons, you will piece together all sorts of player combinations, all that will emphasize different play types. If you tend to run the ball a lot, your RB will get better and better, same with the passing game, or on the flip side, your defensive cover game or your ability to blitz. With your master team customized over time to your playing style, you can take them online to play against other opponents.

    Like Homerun Battle 3D, it's necessary that online sessions are seamless and fast. Instead of playing a full game though, you'll play an NFL Playoff overtime. For more on what the playoff overtime means, read this article from ESPN.

    This will allow for quick games, with the occasional surprising outcome. If possible, there could definitely even be leagues and tournaments organized to make things a bit more interactive. I'm not sure how feasible this is, or how it would work, so that would be up to the developer.

    It's Over Folks

    Whew, well I guess that's the extent of Football RPG. I really feel that the game that I have laid out would work extremely well and would generate a ton of buzz if implemented correctly. So hurry up developers, I want to play my game!

    Hands-On Preview: Madden NFL 11 for iPhone AND iPad

    Posted by Jeff Scott on July 21st, 2010

    EA held their studio preview today and we were one of the few mobile sites there to take a look at their coming games. First up, and the most anticipated, is Madden NFL 11. This year is will be available on the iPhone and the iPad with the iPad getting a couple exclusive features.

    The Hot Routes feature has been expanded and enhanced this year. Hot routes allow you to draw the path that the player takes on the screen pre-snap. You have greater control over them in both offense and new this year, defense. You can also save your custom routes as a custom offensive play.

    Madden NFL 11 gets a few new features carried over from the console versions. This includes Total Defense Control -- this year defense is given much more attention giving you most of the same control of players you have on offense. This includes the ability to program hot routes for defensive players. For defense you also can slow the play down while it is in action and adjust the routes.

    On the offense, new this year, and carried from the console, is GameFlow. This is basically an automated play calling system created to speed up the play of the game. Instead of needing to run into one of the 30 playbooks to pick a play, the computer will pick one for you and it does so intelligently. It watches the game and how you play and will pick an appropriate play. You can of course override the play or turn off GameFlow at any time. GameFlow makes considerable sense on the more casual mobile device.

    The game gets a little prettier this year too. Graphics both on field and off look much better. This includes higher definition players, fields, and even moving crowds that are unique to each stadium. Also included are different weather effects based on the stadium location and date of the game.

    Some iPad specific features include on-screen optimizations for the larger screen like a passing wheel under your right thumb. The passing wheel shows you all receives on the play and their status in a single location letting you select them very quickly. One unexpected new game type is added as an exclusive for the iPad as well. Remember the old electric football games where you place the weighted player pieces on a large metal board that when turned on vibrated them around? Well a mid-season update to Madden NFL 11 will allow you to play this fun mini-game in the app -- and even with voiceover from Gus Johnson.

    If there's one disappointment it's the lack of online multiplayer. Still missing from EA's in-house lineup, this feature will really take this game, and other EA games, to the next level. There is local Bluetooth multiplayer included in both the iPhone and iPad versions. But you may only play against another user on the same device type.

    EA took some heat last year by charging for roster updates in Madden NFL 10 for the iPhone. They have seen the errors of their ways and the roster updates will be free this year!

    If you're a Madden fan, you won't have to wait too long. Madden NFL 11 for the iPhone and iPad will launch alongside the console version on August 11th. Hit the jump for a few more screenshots.


    NFL 2010

    iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
    By Richard Martin on August 7th, 2009
    Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: PLAYOFF CONTENDER
    NFL 2010 is a great fix for football fans who want a dose of America's favorite game on the go. This game is nowhere close to perfect, but those cats at Gameloft have cashed in a valiant first effort at bringing NFL action to the iPhone.
    Read The Full Review »