September is here and it’s time for football season. But if you have decided to cut cable, you may be feeling left out in the cold once the weekend hits, or worse, when everyone at work is talking about that unbelievable catch.

Why? Because the game isn’t on Netflix.

Our guide here is going to cover numerous ways to watch both NFL and college football this fall without the hassle of the contracts that you walked away from when you left cable or satellite services.

First Thing’s First, Don’t Forget Antennas

Yes antennas.

While its been generations since most Americans watched the Big 3 CBS, NBC and ABC via an antenna, they still make them.

Something that people often miss concerning the NFL, for instance, is that it is a broadcast TV-based sport. There are two NFL games per week that are not broadcast on either NBC, Fox or CBS for free. Those games are the Thursday night matchup via the NFL Network and Monday Night Football on ESPN. Otherwhise, Fox is home to the NFC, and CBS is home to the AFC.

Your regional teams will likely be on every week on one of those stations, depending on its conference.

College football can also be found all over traditional TV networks every Saturday. Just take a look at your local listings.

We must mention this though, there are a number of types and sizes of TV antennas that promise differing levels of performance. Because of this, finding what is right for you is a little more complicated than just hooking up a coax cable and HDMI to a TV.

We have found that the best antenna reception by far has been achieved by using an outdoor roof-mounted antenna. Others swear by attic-based antennas. Either way, it is about the same thing: the higher up an antenna is, the easier it is to avoid everything from trees and geography, to building materials that might block reception.

You Can Watch Thursday Night Football Without the NFL Network

In the section on antennas, we mentioned that one of the only football games on TV that is not available via an antenna is the Thursday night matchup on NFL Network. Well it is available via Amazon Prime.

Yes, the same company that delivers everything to your front door also delivers football to your TV and mobile devices.

Amazon Prime customers have access to the NFL games via the Amazon video app on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Roku, NVIDIA Shield, and smart TV platforms including Samsung and LG. And don’t forget Amazon’s own Fire TV devices.

Cable Replacement Services

These services are streaming-based services built to emulate a traditional TV service without burdening customers with one- or two-year-long contracts.

They range in the number of channels for the basic packages and may seem unwieldy to those looking to simplify things. But if you find yourself in a sports fix, one of these options may be the cure.

For the purposes of this article, we only zero in on the sports channels that carry college and NFL football. Therefore, we don’t list the NBA Network and MLB Network, even if they are available.


This service starts at $50 per month and provides access to ESPN, ESPN2 and FS1. There are at least 47 other channels available in this offer, including CBS, FOX, NBC and ABC, if you happen to be in a place with an agreement between the service and your local affiliates. There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to this; access to local channels is on a market-by-market basis.

AT&T TV Now, though, does provide a tool for users to see if local channels are offered where they live.

An important note: AT&T TV Now used to be called DirecTV Now. DirecTV Now has ceased as a brand.

Supported devices include, Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Android TV and Fire TV. The service also supports Chromecast and select Samsung TV’s (2017-present). Users can also watch on a computer via Chrome and Safari.

Sling TV

Sling TV has the cheapest opening rate.

The first-of-its-kind streaming service offers a basic channel lineup called Sling Orange for $25 per month. The company is currently offering new customers a 40 percent off deal that brings the first month down to $15.

As for channels the Sling Orange package offers: ESPN, ESPN2 and access to ESPN3, which is a treasure trove of sports available via the Internet. But because this is an Internet application in the first place, the programming is seamlessly integrated into the app.

Users also have access to the ESPN streaming app through their subscription, which adds screens to the package.

Sling also has a package called Sling Blue for $25/$15 per month that offers access to the NFL Network, FS1 and FS2. The Sling Orange and Blue packages can be purchased together for $40.

Something interesting that Sling TV does offer is genre-based upgrades. The sports upgrade is quite impressive, though it changes depending on which package you have.

For instance the Sling Orange package with ESPN and ESPN2 can be upgraded to include the SEC Network, the Long Horn Network, ESPN Goal Line and the Pac 12 Network, and other sports channels for $10. That’s a lot of sports for $35 per month.

Supported devices include, Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Android TV, Fire TV and the Oculus VR player. The service also supports Chromecast, Xbox One, Samsung and LG Smart TV’s. Users can also watch on a computer.

Hulu with Live TV

You are going to be hearing more and more about Hulu as the Disney+ bundle grows.

Hulu has been in action for years as a place to catch on-demand TV shows and movies, but has spent the last two years building up its own cable-like service.

The service costs $44.99 and includes 60 or more channels. As far as sports, and more importantly football, is concerned Hulu provides access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNU, the CBS Sports Network, the Big 10 Network, the ACC Network,  FS1 and FS2.

Supported devices include, Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Android TV and Fire TV. The service also supports Chromecast, Xbox One, select Samsung and LG Smart TV’s, and the Nintendo Switch. Users can also watch on a computer.

YouTube TV

Like Hulu, this can get a little confusing.

YouTube TV is a cable replacement service under the branding of a service that is totally unrelated. Luckily, there are some things that make it less confusing — YouTube TV operates out of a separate app.

The service costs $49.99 per month and features 70 channels. ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS are all possible on the service as long as the affiliates in your area have come to agreements with YouTube TV. The key cable sports networks for college and pro football available are ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, the ACC Network, the Big 10 Network, CBS Sports, regional sports networks, FS1, FS2 and the SEC Network.

YouTube TV is available via supported devices include, Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Android TV and Fire TV. The service also supports Chromecast and Xbox One. Users can also watch on a computer.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is a streaming service from Sony.

Despite its name, the service is not limited to streaming via PlayStation consoles. Supported devices include, Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Android TV and Fire TV. The service also supports Chromecast. Users can also watch on a computer.

There are three programming tiers to PS Vue, but only two that are relevant for football fans.

For $49.99, fans can get ESPN and ESPN2, along with FS1 and FS2. Like other services, there are network affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX available as well, based on agreements between the individual affiliates and Sony.

For $54.99, fans can access all of the above channels plus, the ACC Network, the NFL Network, Big 10 Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPNU and the SEC Network.

Ryan Downey is the executive director and editor of The Streaming Advisor.