7 Apps You're Going to Need This Football Season

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- A new football season is upon us and a new spread of football apps reinforces one essential truth about the NFL: It loves distracting fans from live games.

Football is the most exciting sport on the planet when something's happening. For every deep pass, big run, open-field hit and sack, though, there's an interminable amount of time spent lining up, setting formations, resetting after plays, taking timeouts and running to the outside for no gain. There are breaks between quarters, breaks for timeouts, breaks for TV timeouts, breaks for injuries, breaks for instant replay, breaks for challenges and a big break at the half.

The single most impressive feat the NFL accomplishes during the season is convincing fans that the brief bursts of action sandwiched between big piles of nothing is the game. Television makes that all too easy by couching games in analysis, commentary, quick cuts to the action in other games, recaps of other NFL games at the half and a flood of stats and graphics to keep eyes drawn from long walks from the huddle and quarterbacks ticking away the play clock seconds under center. The NFL even has a Red Zone channel that cuts out the tedium and shows only scoring drives. DirecTV ( DTV) takes it a step further with its Short Cuts channel that condenses all the action into a pre-chewed, 30-minute showing.

None of this helps when fans are freezing in the stands during late-season games waiting for the network to cut away from a Chevy commercial and let the game resume. For these Sunday die-hards and for their friends at home who can't suffer even a modest lull in the on-field activity, we offer seven vital apps, starting with:

NFL Sunday Ticket
Available for: Apple ( AAPL) iPhone, iPod, iPad, Google ( GOOG) Android, Android Tablet, HP ( HPQ) Web OS
Price: Free to download, $60 monthly or $300 five-month subscription required

The good news for DirecTV customers: The cost of its NFL Sunday Ticket package that features every NFL game every Sunday in HD, a player stat tracker and up to eight games at once on the Mix channel dropped to $200. The bad news? If you want the Red Zone channel, Short Cuts channel or access through your computer or mobile devices, it'll cost you $100 more. That's a lot for your money, and no other app comes close to offering those features. It's also somewhat disappointing, since all those premium features were included in the base package last year.

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