How to Watch NFL Games without Cable through Apple TV or Online (2023)

If you’re a football fan without cable, figuring out how to watch the NFL season online is important. Whether you want to watch Monday Night Football, the Thursday games, or the NFL Sunday ticket, we’ll cover your options for watching the NFL season on Apple TV without a cable subscription. We'll include how to watch NFL games online, on Amazon, with an over-the-air TV antenna, on Sling TV, and more.

Related: How to Watch the NBA Playoffs Online without Cable on Your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

When & Where to Watch NFL without Cable

NFL games are broadcast Monday nights, Thursday nights, Sunday afternoons, and Sunday nights on different networks: CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network. This can make it hard to see every NFL game you want to without a cable subscription. Fortunately, there are a lot of options for watching the NFL season without cable. For more great Apple device tutorials, check out our free Tip of the Day

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Over-the-Air TV Antenna

Compatibility: Varies between manufacturers. 
Cost: Prices vary from company to company; I've seen anywhere from $17.99–$149.99. 
Pros: Free content from local broadcasters.
Cons: Some companies charge a monthly fee to use the app associated with their antenna. 

OTA stands for over the air; in other words, an antenna! Yes, it's true; you can legally pick up locally broadcasted channels and stream them to your TV with an antenna. While you might be envisioning the old-fashioned version that looks like a laundry rack attached to your roof or a clothes hanger balanced on your TV, there are now lots of OTA options that are sleek and unobtrusive. Some can boost signals, as well, which is really helpful if you live in a rural area. Some OTA options include AirTVHD HomeRun, and Mohu, but there are lots more out there!


Compatible Devices: iPhone and iPad.
Cost: $4.99/month for NFL+ or $9.99/month for NFL+ Premium
Pros: Watch live games on your mobile devices
Cons: Can't watch out-of-market games
The NFL has finally introduced an app that will let you stream live local and primetime regular season and postseason games directly to your mobile device. Whatever game you would be seeing if you turned on a TV to watch, you'll be able to see on your iPhone or iPad with the NFL+ app.

Amazon Prime NFL Games

amazon prime nfl
Compatible Devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Mac and PC, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Roku.
Cost: Must be an Amazon Prime member ($14.99/month or $139/year).
Pros: Free if already an Amazon Prime user.
Cons: Only a limited number of games will stream on Amazon.

Amazon bought the rights to stream the NFL's Thursday night games online. You used to still be able to watch Thursday Night Football on network TV, but now the games stream exclusively on Amazon, so if you want to keep up with Thursday's NFL games, you will want to sign up for Amazon Prime (or find a good sports bar, if you don't want to give money to Amazon directly).

ESPN & NFL Network on Sling TV  

nfl redzone is on sling tv
Compatible Devices: Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone and iPad, Mac, and Roku
Cost: Blue or Orange ($35), Blue and Orange together ($50). Prices are half off for your first month
Pros: No commitment. Can subscribe only for the NFL season and then cancel.
Cons: Doesn’t carry CBS. You will need to subscribe to both packages for the fullest coverage, at which point paying for cable might be worth it. Not all local channels are available in all markets.

Sling TV offers three packages: Blue, Orange, and Orange and Blue together. But since Sling Blue offers the NFL Network and Sling Orange offers ESPN, Fox, and NBC, serious NFL fans will probably want to sign up for the combined Orange and Blue package and possibly add the RedZone channel for an additional cost per month. At that point, the cost is equal to some cable packages. In addition, neither package offers CBS, and not all channels are available in every market. See which local channels are available in your area here.

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket 

Compatible Devices: Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and Chromecast
Cost: From $69.99/month to $139.99/month
Pros: Can watch every out-of-market Sunday game live.
Cons: May not offer all Monday and Thursday night games.

DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket is included with the Choice Package, but only offers Sunday NFL games; subscribers will need to find another option for watching Monday and Thursday night NFL games. This option really only makes sense for college students who want to watch NFL games online; they can get the service at a big discount. It's also had some outages early in the 2022 season that have upset current subscribers.

NFL Game Pass

nfl game pass
Compatible Devices: Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad
Cost: $9.99/month. More for an out-of-country subscription.
Pros: Can replay every single game of the season.
Cons: You will need to use a VPN to simulate an out-of-country IP address if you want to watch games live.

Those who live in the U.S. and want to watch the NFL games without cable will only be able to watch replays of the NFL games once they are finished; NFL Game Pass does not allow domestic users to live stream games. In fact, this has been a source of frustration for many cord-cutters. Since Game Pass subscribers who live outside the U.S. are able to watch live games, some subscribers have resorted to the questionable practice of using a VPN to create an out-of-country IP address. Buying a UK subscription is most frequently recommended. Note that you will need to set up your out-of-country IP address before subscribing to Game Pass.



Compatible Devices: Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad
Cost: Seven-day free trial, then from $64.99/month to $84.99/month
Pros: Includes NFL Network, RedZone, ESPN, and broadcast networks
Cons: Costs as much as some cable packages

fuboTV broadcasts live TV over the internet. It offers over 100 channels, including the NFL Network, RedZone, ESPN, CBS, FOX, and NBC, so most of your NFL needs will be covered. fuboTV uses your location to determine which local affiliates to serve you, so, unless you use a VPN, you'll see the same games you would if you were watching your local network stations.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu plus Live TV

Compatible Devices: Apple TV, Xbox, iPhone & iPad, Mac, PlayStation, and Chromecast
Cost: $70/month with ads or $76/month without ads
Pros: Includes FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, and NFL Network
Cons: No longer offers Thursday night games. 

With Hulu + Live TV, you can keep track of your favorite NFL football teams, record games, and watch live TV broadcasts aired on your local broadcasting channels.

Top image credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson /

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Author Details

Dig Om's picture

Author Details

Dig Om

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech