Tackle the upcoming NFL season with these iPhone apps

by David Lister

I've already gone over the best fantasy football apps for guiding your team to a league championship, so it's only natural that I also take time to discuss the best apps for following actual football teams. Whether you want league-wide news or just to track your favorite team, there are more than enough options. Even if you want to follow a charismatic wide receiver (or two) there's something here for you. And with that, let's get this scoring drive started.

Pro Football Live Plus!

I'm going to try to get through this thing without complaining too much about how the NFL doesn't have an equivalent to MLB At Bat or NBA Game Time, but I can't promise anything. Plusmo's Pro Football Live! (Pro Football Live Plus! costs $1.99 and eliminates ads) has some pretty snazzy features, most notably live scoring and the option to get alerts about your favorite team. It also has things like rosters, stats, news and schedules, all shown in a functional – if a little drab – presentation. There are also some social networking features that allow you to mark which team you're rooting for and talk smack with fellow fans. Pro Football Live! is really a decent enough app, especially when you consider the price. But would it be so terrible for America's favorite sport to release an official app for its favorite phone, so we could have something better than decent enough?

CBS Sports Pro Football

CBS Sports Pro Football does just about everything Pro Football Live! does, and it's also free. You get live scoring with the app's GameCenter feature, as well as news, stats and all that good stuff. But where the CBS app beats out the Plusmo app is in its much smoother design and a good deal of fantasy options. CBS fantasy users can edit their lineups, track scoring, and get advice from fantasy experts within the app. The only thing it's lacking is the aforementioned app's social networking features. There are even some multimedia features, with video previews and recaps. The bad news is the app doesn't seem to be working very well with iOS4, which is obviously something that has to be fixed as soon as possible. Assuming it does get fixed, this is another entirely decent app, especially for CBS fantasy sports users.

NFL Live Football

I mention NFL Live Football not only because it's free, but because the Genera Mobile app does have a couple of things going for it. While it's got a great look, it also has a solid interface that works well enough and is easy to use. On the downside, there's no live scoring, a must-have feature these days. Still, judging from the company's La Liga and F1 Series apps, there's some potential here, as working out some of the kinks and adding some kind of live scoring would potentially place it at or near the top of football apps. With no official NFL app (I'm trying not to get on that soapbox again) there's no clear favorite for the football genre in the app store, and because the app is free it's at least worth a shot, if the Plusmo and CBS apps aren't your thing.

Terrell Owens: Official App

Rock Software certainly seems to have a grasp on how to do these athlete apps, but it's become clear it takes a certain kind of personality for the app to do well. Sure, the company's Jared Allen and Floyd Mayweather apps were alright, but they didn't stand up to the original Chad Ochocinco app. Terrell Owens: Official App, on the other hand, has some of the wonderful quirkiness these things need to stay interesting. For an inexplicable section on how to tie ties to sound bites to an “Ask TO” feature, the well-traveled wide receiver's persona shines in this release. Like other apps in this genre, I don't think it will turn you from a TO hater into a TO lover, but anyone who has an affinity for Owens will absolutely get something from his official app.

Individual team apps

RC3's Dallas Cowboys 2010 News and Rumors and Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 News and Rumors both sit near the top of the paid sports app chart, though this probably has more to do with the popularity of those teams than anything else. The News and Rumors apps are made for every NFL team, and cost $1.99, with features such as a news feed, rosters and schedule. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently released an app called St. Louis Rams Football 2010 ($2.99) that provides easy access to the paper's football coverage. While the content is fine, the app is a little light on features given the price, though Rams fans (if there are any left) probably would disagree. Fans of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints owe it to themselves to check out WhoDatApp ($1.99), an app with all of the things you would expect as well as a section that allows you to listen to past radio shows from WWL 870 AM.