Tablo Blog

2017 Guide to Watching NFL or College Football as a Cord Cutter

We hope you enjoy the following guest post from Chris Brantner, the cord cutting expert behind


Cutting your cable subscription doesn’t have to be the end of watching live sports. It’s actually quite easy to watch your favorite football team all season long, even without cable.

homer football

 That being said, there are a couple of key things you need to know to make sure you’re not missing some of the biggest college football and NFL games this year. Keep reading to learn the steps you need to take to start watching football after cutting the cord.


1. Start with an Antenna

ota antennas

A TV antenna is a must have tool for football fans who don’t have cable. An antenna lets you watch live network channels via their free Over-the-Air broadcasts. The only cost is your initial investment in your antenna. With an antenna, you can watch the networks that carry football - CBS, FOX, NBC – as well as ABC and much more.

With an antenna, you can watch games all day on Sunday and many Thursday night games during the regular season. Having an antenna was just as helpful during the NFL playoffs last year too.

You can also enjoy college football games with the antenna if you receive CBS and FOX in your area. CBS is a great source for SEC games, while FOX has rights for several other conferences.


2. Pause, Rewind, and Record with a Tablo DVR

tablo HD football
If you’re a die-hard NFL or NCAA football fan you might want to consider adding a Tablo DVR to your setup to truly take it to the next level. This’ll get you all the traditional features you’d get with a cable or satellite DVR, like recording games when you can’t be on the couch and even rewinding or pausing live TV so you can see that wicked play one more time.

One of the best parts of Tablo is you get much more than just the normal DVR features. You can also live stream games on your computer, phone, tablet, or even TV with a streaming player anywhere in the world. Tablo connects to your internet and will let you stream everything your antenna is receiving live as well as all of your pre-recorded games!


3. Supplement with a Live Streaming Service

sling football
For NFL fans, the antenna and Tablo will have you just about covered. But, if you’re trying to watch college football without cable, you might need to supplement your antenna viewing with a streaming service. Multiple services offer live streams of popular cable channels for a monthly subscription cost that is much lower than traditional cable.

The key channels college fans will want are the ESPN family of networks, which will also be the only way to watch Monday Night Football games without cable.

Here are some of the services you can use to watch games all year long:

DIRECTV NOW is a streaming service from AT&T. You can subscribe to the starting package and watch games on ESPN, ESPN2, and get full access to the WatchESPN app. WatchESPN will let you watch games on ESPN3, which often have simulcasts of any games airing on ABC. The starting price is $35 per month and the DIRECTV NOW channel list is over 100 channels long across all its packages. DIRECTV NOW also offers a weeklong free trial.


Sling TV
Sling TV is known as one of the more flexible streaming services. The starting package won’t get you as many channels as other services, but it’s tough to complain about a $20 per month starting price. This’ll get you live streams from ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3, along with access to WatchESPN. There’s also a $5 per month add-on package, which will get you several more ESPN networks like the SEC Network, ESPNU, and more. It’s also one of the only ways to gain access to the NFL Network and RedZone without cable. You can try the service yourself during a 7-day free trial.


PlayStation Vue
Sony’s foray into the streaming service market is PlayStation Vue. The starting price is $40 per month. You get a wide array of channels in each of Vue’s packages, so you can watch all the great content out there for cable cutters. The service offers ESPN and ESPN2 live streams and once more you’ll get access to WatchESPN. Vue’s subscription comes with a cloud DVR that you can use to record any games you can’t catch live. This would be a great pairing with your antenna and Tablo setup. You can give the service a test run during Vue’s 5-day free trial.


Other Options
There are a couple other ways you can live stream football games this year. These include the NFL Mobile app, which will offer every single game. The catch is only Verizon wireless subscribers can get access and you can only watch on the app, not your TV. But, it’s tough to complain about free!

Amazon recently announced a deal that’ll have them live streaming many of the Thursday Night Football games on its Prime Video platform. The games will be free to watch for anyone who is an existing Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscriber. You can also watch several of these games free during Prime’s 30-day free trial.


Hopefully you now realize there’s no reason to keep your cable subscription just so you can watch football games.

It’s time to kick cable to the curb, still catch NFL and NCAA games, and save a bunch of money!


Chris Brantner runs, a blog dedicated to helping people find legal cable TV alternatives. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday and like him on Facebook at  



Sign up for Tablo's Cord Cutting This Week newsletter to get the latest cord cutting industry news including updates on Over-the-Air TV shows, streaming services, set-top-boxes, gadgets, and more delivered straight to your inbox!