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The NFL season officially kicks off tonight, and from now until February there will be a ton of NFL info, and how do you manage it all? All you need is an iPhone!

There are a ton of NFL related apps, and you only want so many cluttering up your iPhone, so how do you decide? That’s where AppAdvice comes in. Below is a comparison of all the main football apps in the App Store with a final verdict of the apps you should have for the 2009 NFL season.

NFL apps break down into four main categories: scores, news, games, and fantasy football. *Note every app is free unless otherwise mentioned.
Now here are

The Contenders

Scores

ESPN Scorcenter ESPN ScoreCenter
The name in Sports is ESPN and they have their own app for just scores. The app is like watching ESPN news, but without the highlights or annoying commentators. Just the scores. Also a news ticker displays at the bottom of the screen.
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In using this app it loads quickly, and provides the basics of each scoring summary, and the score by quarter. Previews of all the games are included from ESPN writers. A nice looking app that gets the basic job done. Overall it’s just smooth.

ScoremobileScoreMobile
Very similar to the ESPN app, with the same scoring breakdown. Scoremobile also includes detailed stats and standings as well as news all in a free app. The load times are quick, and everything is displayed in a very nice interface. Previews of all the games are also included. The stats included may be the most detailed of any app.

pro football live Pro Football Live (Free/$1.99)
This may be the most detailed score reports of any football app in the App Store. Instead of just showing a brief score summary, and scoring plays, it goes the extra yard.

Pro Football Live provides who has the ball, and their position on the field, with the most recent plays listed. A beautiful interface that shows both teams helmets, and a nice field representation (see college version image at bottom). There is a paid version, but the only difference is no ads.

sportstapSportstap
This is one of the only two score or news apps to have push notifications. The problem is that it just looks so basic, and dull. It gives the same football field aspect as Pro Football Live, but it’s flat, and boring. The updates also seem a little slower on this app.

For the push notifications, you don’t have a choice of what notifications you get, just you pick a team, and you get game start, end, and score change. Also the push notifications are slower than sportacular.
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sportacularSportacular (Free/$1.99)
This is the other football app that has push notifications, and uses them much better. Sportacular lets you choose what notifications to get whether it’s pre-game, game start, end, and when the score changes, or period ends.

Sportacular also includes in-games stats, scoring play summaries, and a field position view. The load times are really quick bringing your right into the action. Detailed, and current news is included to help eliminate the need for having a separate news app. There is a paid version, where the only difference is no ads.

News

cbs sportsCBS Sports
This app provides all CBS sportsline news, articles, and video highlights (all sports). It also gives you access to your cbs sportsline fantasy team if you have one, though they say a separate app is coming. The app is pretty basic, and isn’t much improved from just visiting their website.

nbc sportsNBC Mobile
NBC sports provides the same thing as CBS sportsline, but at least provides easier access to a scoreboard. Video highlights of all sports are also included, and pretty basic like CBS. All of the stories need to be clicked through, as you just get the headline with no excerpt.
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Fox sportsFox Sports
Very similar to the NBC sports app, but with a better interface, and quicker load times. All three of these TV affiliate apps provide access to all sports, which leaves football intermixed, rather than highlighted. Of the main sports outlets, Foxsports has the best app for news, scores, stats, and videos. The interface looks the best as well.

sportingnewsSportingNews Pro Football
SportingNews decided to make an app just for the NFL to give you only NFL scores and news. The scores are as basic as can be, and require a lot of tapping to get any good info. The news stories suffer the same fate. With more tapping comes more time to find out the score or the news story. The interface, and info can be customized to your favorite team.

iprofootballPro Football Live
This app actually costs money, ($0.99), but provides nothing better than all of the other free apps. It seems to be just an RSS feed from NFL.com, and again only the story headline are included, not even an excerpt. You can find scores, standings, and stats like the rest, but it’s not as obvious.

nfl newsNFL News
This app is mainly a news app, and can be customized to your favorite team. The schedule and scores as well as stats and standings are included. Once customized to your favorite team you get the last game, a preview of the next game, standings, and latest news all on the main page. The app is pretty basic in every aspect, and they charge $0.99.

NFL nowNFL InGameNow
This app is mainly a discussion app. It requires you to register for an account, which then provides news and scores. It also gives you the option to chat live with other people in the app about any game. The whole entire app is about connecting you, which creates it’s own little niche rather than competing with all of the other scores and news apps.
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RealTimeRealTime Pro Football
This is one of the most unique football apps. It combines all of the NFL related twitter accounts into one app. You don’t need a twitter account to follow the tweets of any NFL player. They’re all organized by team, and constantly updated.

Also included are the twitter feeds of the NFL press. One neat thing is having the local team’s blog of every team included as the news source. Everything else is tweets, and with the recent NFL crackdown of players tweeting, I don’t know how good this app is.

Games

NFL 2010NFL 2010
Gameloft’s full featured NFL game with the actual 2009 schedule and rosters of all 32 teams. You can see a detailed review here. Also NFL 2010 just dropped in price to $2.99, making it even more appealing, and really is Madden 10 $5 better, and after the first game $7 more expensive.

madden 10Madden 10
The king of football gaming barely entered the App Store, but is already a stand out. The full featured Madden game you know and love is now on your iPhone. Madden looks very similar to NFL 2010, but is a little bit smoother in the running, and tackling animations.
madden
Also Madden includes the actual stadiums of every team in the league, plus a few features left out of NFL 2010. When running there is the ability to accelerate or spin at any time. Also at any time you can slow down time, and be able to juke, truck, deflect a pass, or go for an interception. This is all at your choosing rather than at random intervals like in NFL 2010.

Another feature is the ability to swipe inside of the cover flow playbook, just like in the ipod app. In NFL 2010 you’re left with having to press arrows and select buttons. Also included is an option to draw a hot route on screen. The virtual control stick doesn’t work very well though.

Fantasy Football

2009 fantasy footballFantasy Football 2009 by Citizen Sports
From the makers of Sportacular, it’s a fantasy app that utilizes push. Just like yahoo and ESPN, Citizen Sports has their own fantasy game hosted by Facebook. You can manage your team if you have one from the app.
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The feature that sets it apart is push notifications of all your live scoring info. Now you get a real time push when Drew Brees passes for a touchdown, or whatever the case may be. There are two categories: Player news alerts which is all relevant news from injuries to each score, and then only player score alerts.

Another great feature is the ability to add any of your fantasy teams. Unlike yahoo or ESPN that restricts you to that sites fantasy football, Citizen Sports doesn’t. Granted you can’t log in and edit other teams, but you can get live scoring and push notifications for any of your players as long as you add them manually.

ESPN FantasyESPN Fantasy Football 2009 ($4.99)
This app costs $4.99. Enough said, don’t pay for a fantasy football app. ESPN’s fantasy football app allows you to edit only your ESPN teams. It does provide push notifications as a selling point. If you have an ESPN team this may be good, but $4.99 seems excessive just to edit your ESPN teams and see live scoring, since Citizen Sports version can give you the same push notifications.

yahoo fantasyYahoo Sports Fantasy Football
If you have a Yahoo fantasy football team, then you should have this app too. It allows you to edit all of your Yahoo teams, and it’s free. You can change your roster and add/drop for all of your yahoo teams. Also provided is live scoring, so you can see your head to head match-up any time. It doesn’t provide push notifications, but again Citizen Sports can do that for you.

Fantasy Football LiveAll My Fantasy Football Teams-FanStar ($2.99)
This is the one app that allows you to edit multiple teams from multiple sites. The only problem is that this feature isn’t out until the update makes it through Apple, and you never know how long that will take. For $2.99 you can edit all of your teams from various sites, but not yet. It’s too bad too, this could be the go to app, so you don’t need a separate one for ESPN and yahoo, etc. Hopefully the update can make it through soon, it’s been in the queue for nearly two weeks.

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My Fantasy Teams-ES Group (Free
/$3.99)
There is a free, and paid version (3.99). This app only works with yahoo fantasy, and the free version only allows you to have one yahoo team. Also it doesn’t allow add/drop and a few other features, that you have to pay to get. The paid version is little bit more robust than yahoo’s free app, but not worth the $3.99 upgrade. Now that yahoo has released their own free app, this one is pretty much obsolete.

Special

directvNFL Mobile by DirecTV
This is a very specialized app, and only can appeal to so many people. If you have DirecTV and NFL Sunday Ticket as well as Super Fan on top of that, then you can use this app. If not, then your out of luck.

The app is free, if you have the entire DirecTV package. Now you can watch sunday’s action live on your iPhone. The app doesn’t go live until Sunday so it’s still unknown, but all signs point to be streaming only over wifi. Still though you can watch the Red Zone Channel on the iPhone, and there’s always the jailbreak option to watch over 3G.

The Must Have Apps

Of all these apps, we cut it down to the following:
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Sportacular (Free/$1.99)
Sportacular is the best sports app, and more particularly the best football app. You get quick load times, live updated scores, news, and push notifications all for FREE. You can pay $1.99 for the pro version to get rid of the ads, but that’s completely up to you.

Fantasy Football 2009 by Citizen Sports
If you made a team through citizen sports facebook fantasy football you can edit it on your iPhone. You can manually add any other team you have to keep track of live scoring directly on your iPhone. Then on top of that it sends you push notifications when your players score. It does all of this for free. Citizen Sports has made two outstanding apps that can fill your football needs.
yahoo sports
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football
This is an easy recommendation if you have a Yahoo fantasy football team. It’s great to manage your teams on the go. Instead of having to go on the computer, you can do everything from your iPhone. Edit your roster, add/drop players, and view live scoring, all for free. Make sure to add your players to Citizens Sports version to get push notification.

NFL 2010 & Madden 10
Both of these full featured NFL games provide a fun football experience on the go. Madden is a little bit more realistic, but is also $7.99 (soon to be $9.99) where as NFL 2010 is only $2.99. You definitely should have one of these, but price is the biggest factor, and that’s up to you. We will have a detailed review of Madden up soon.

NFL Mobile by DirecTV
An absolute must if you have the total DirecTV Sunday Ticket Super Fan package. One of the neatest apps in the App Store, and makes it feel like your money is better spent.
college football
Also a special shout out to College Football fans.
College Football Live by Plusmo (Free/$0.99)
It’s super detailed, and goes great with Sportacular push. For some reason college football isn’t detailed like the NFL in Sportacular, so you can’t see scoring plays or much of anything. College Football Live steps in perfectly. The only difference in the paid version is again, the ads.

Pro Football Live is made by Plusmo as well, and is just as good, but seemingly unnecessary because Sportacular actually has the NFL covered properly unlike college football.

We will also be putting all of these apps in the trenches this weekend, and will get back to you next week with the best performers.

You Are Now Ready for Some Football!

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