The glut of affordable streaming services available right now has made it easier than ever to make a clean break from your cable subscription. But just like when any long-term relationship ends, it can be tempting to rekindle the flame rather than go without what brings you so much joy: NFL football.
Be strong, cord-cutting football fans. There are plenty of ways to watch your favorite games this season without spending a dime. Here are six of 'em.
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Now, you can stream NFL games all throughout the 2018 season on your mobile devices for free by using the NFL Mobile app. The app is free on by iOS and Android and you don't have to pay to watch to stream the games. However, the free streaming is limited to games featuring teams in your local market and the national/primetime games on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday nights on your mobile devices. This used to be a perk only for Verizon wireless customers, but now you can get in on it too via the NFL Mobile app as well as the Yahoo Sports app.
Take Advantage of Yet Another Amazon Prime Perk
As you've probably realized, subscribing to Amazon Prime is good for much more than free two-day shipping and access to kickass streamable shows and movies. In addition to the full suite of perks that come with the $119 annual membership, this year Amazon's again bundled the ability to stream 11 regular season Thursday Night Football games. If you don't have Prime and don't feel like buying it, Amazon is also offering the games live via its Twitch streaming video platform for free. Or you can always sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.
Test Out a New Streaming Service
Although subscribing to new services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, and DirecTV Now is generally much cheaper than shelling out for a cable plan that includes all NFL games, it still means you have to pay. However, each one of these services (all of which boast access to channels broadcasting most NFL games) offer a month-long free trial before you have to fork over a monthly fee, so in theory, you could stream several football games without paying a dime.
Additionally, CBS's proprietary streaming platform CBS All Access grants you access to all games the network has broadcast rights to, and new subscribers can get a 7-day free trial (just remember to cancel it before you have to pay). The network is also adding the ability to stream the games on your mobile devices as well in 2018.
As long as you don’t care about stellar picture quality, you can usually find someone broadcasting games from in front of their TV via the livestreaming app, which you can watch from the comfort of your phone or tablet.
This one may be obvious, but when all else fails, the best thing to do is just start Googling around for free streams of the game you want to see. With enough sleuthing and patience, you’ll probably end up discovering something at least borderline watchable/questionably legal. There are a handful of mostly dependable sites that aggregate links to illegal streams for pretty much any game you’d want to watch. Protip: minimize any sidebar live chats on the screen to improve streaming quality, and keep in mind that they’re all fairly sketchy. You could get bounced off at any moment, and there’s no telling what potentially harmful and intrusive software you may expose your computer to, so stream cautiously and at your own risk.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He's been in a really good place since he broke it off with Big Cable.