Updated: 2/4/16: Added details about how CBS will stream the Super Bowl to Android tablet users.
The great national extravaganza known as the Super Bowl is back.
But just because it’s the most-watched television event of the year doesn’t mean you need to be stuck inside. The Super Bowl has embraced streaming and other online technology like never before, bringing the game to practically any screen you own.
If you want to stream the big game or live vicariously through those who will be attending, then you’ll want to download an assortment of Android apps the NFL has prepared. With the right digital tools, you can then can focus your energy on all the food, drinks, and maybe leave a little time for the game on Sunday.
How to stream the game
Unfortunately the streaming regulations for the game are like the NFL’s fair catch kick rule: a little odd.
To stream the game on your phone, you need to have the official NFL Mobile app. But the catch is you have to be a Verizon customer, since the carrier has a major partnership deal with the NFL.
Tablet users have more freedom. A recent update to the CBS Sports app detailed support for streaming the Super Bowl live, but only on tablets. So if you're not going to be near Wi-Fi, you could set up a wireless hotspot with your phone, connect to it with your tablet, and then watch the game there.
Also, CBS says anyone can watch the game on the CBS Sports website. So you should be able to hop onto the site in Chrome or your preferred browser and watch the action if you don’t have any other options. Then, armed with a Chromecast, you can cast the content of your screen directly to a television.
If you’re thinking of streaming with a setup box, you’ll need the CBS app for Xbox One, Roku, or Apple TV. While the CBS Sports app works with Android TV, CBS doesn’t specify it will support streaming for the game with Google’s platform. So you may want to have a backup plan just in case.
Given the large number of, er, “unofficial” streaming sources that will likely to be up and running for the Super Bowl, the Verizon blockade is rather unfortunate. The league should just opt for the most eyeballs, especially given how much of the viewing audience has moved away from traditional television. Plus, the game is on CBS, so all you really need is an antenna.
Grab some extras
There’s more to the Super Bowl than just watching the game. In the run-up to the big show, you’ll find a weeklong party taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area.
If you want a better idea of what’s going on, grab the league’s Road to 50 app. It outlines all of the events going on in and around the city during Super Bowl week. If you’re in the area you can use the app to pin events to an itinerary in case you want to check any of them out.
If you’re not in the region, there’s still other content that could potentially be a huge time suck if you’re a football fan. Road to 50 also explores past Super Bowls with highlights and retellings of previous paths to gaming glory.
If you really want to pretend you’re at the game, then check out the Super Bowl Stadium app. It just got the update for this year’s game, and it tells you anything you’d want to know about Levi’s Stadium. Keep in mind it’s primarily designed for those who are at the Super Bowl, with lots of stadium maps and information about where to grab a beer or find the bathroom. But it’s not a bad way to get closer to the action, without spending the thousands of dollars you’d have to drop for tickets.
Despite Big Red putting the Super Bowl on a semi-lockdown for streaming, there’s still a lot of value out there to use your phone for a different take on all the festivities. The NFL apps will offer a steady stream of in-game updates, stats, and highlight videos to help you get through what will be another year of expensive and overhyped commercials. Behind all that should be a great matchup, so make sure everything is all charged up.