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Return to the NFL with these Hall-of-Fame Android apps

by Kristen Nicole

After a prolonged lockout that threatened the entire season, the NFL finally returns this Thursday. You’ll never be without an NFL update, because your Android phone is powerful enough to stream live games, play Madden and deliver real-time scores. We’re living in the best of times, and these are the best of Android apps for NFL season 2011-2012.

NFL Sunday Ticket (Free)

There are plenty of you out there that have DirecTV’s service just for the Sunday Ticket subscription. Being able to choose any game, watch it live and record it means you get to follow your team, and not just the big matches broadcasters choose to air. Live streams come straight to your phone, from the NFL Sunday Ticket lineup, as well as programming from the Red Zone Channel. The app also features important news and stats, like team and player info, scores, standings, schedules and highlights. As with all satellite and cable-based mobile apps, you’ll need a subscription with your provider before bothering with this free-to-download title.

NFL Mobile (Free)

Verizon Wireless is all about quality content streaming, offering media perks to customers that many other carriers don’t offer. NFL Mobile is an exclusive offering for Android users, creating a mobile hub for live game videos and audio, as well as news, scores and highlights. This is an app geared towards Verizon customers with high-end Android phones, so make sure your device is compatible before downloading.

WatchESPN (Free)

ESPN is a sports favorite with quality programs, never-ending analysis and humor all in one network. You can watch ESPN content live on your phone, connecting to live sports and programs from ESPN. The app is free to download, delivering live-streaming feeds from the main channel, along with ESPN2 and ESPN3, among other channels. Of course, ESPN doesn’t stream every game every night, so you’re limited to the big matches that air on its collection of mainstream channels. And your access to this app depends on your cable provider, working only for Bright House, Time Warner and Verizon FiOS customers. Read the terms and check for supported devices before downloading this app. If it’s just the scores you’re after, try the ESPN ScoreCenter app, which is free for all.

Yahoo! Sportacular (previously Live Scores) (Free)

For up-to-the-minute game news, Sportacular delivers the latest scores in real time. This Yahoo!-powered sports app has a simple interface for quick navigation, covering all the major sports categories, from the NFL to the NBA. For the next few months, stick with the NFL channel, which is easy enough once you select your preferences and familiarize yourself with the app. You can follow your favorite teams, add score alerts for constant updates, and widgets for home-screen access to scores and news stories.

NFL: Football News (Free)

If it’s just the football news you’re after, try NFL: Football News. This is a free app that aggregates top NFL stories from a collection of sources, including Yahoo! Sports and ESPN. Get breaking news, team and player updates, NFL trade rumors and updates delivered straight to your phone. Stories are updated in real-time, so you’ll always be in the know for Monday morning water cooler chats or bar talk. This is a news-centric app, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it for live score updates.

Madden NFL 12 ($6.99)

If you would rather be in the game rather than sitting on the sidelines as a mere spectator, try the Madden NFL 12 game, powered by EA Sports. The popular franchise is totally mobile, delivering football avatars for your controlling glory. Manage your rosters with the hundreds of players from all 32 NFL teams, control your charts, make trades and bet on free-agents. With Madden, you can live out an entire NFL season, complete with commentary and unique stadium games. The mobile game is never as good as the console version, but there’s nothing like Madden for a football fan.

Yahoo! Fantasy Football '11 (Free)

Another way to live out the NFL season is through fantasy football leagues. As the leading fantasy football service, Yahoo!’s dedicated Android app delivers all the information and management options you need. View your team, league and player stats, edit your lineups and constantly check your standings and upcoming matchups. You even get real-time fantasy score updates, with options to track matchups from the past, present and future. Search for free agents and read breaking news that may alter your decisions, making your fantasy league all the more realistic.

Download the free Appolicious Android app