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The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the nation. And thanks to the almighty power of the blessed Internet, this year’s gameday is easier to follow and participate in than ever before.
We’ve devised a comprehensive gameday strategy for football fans and all their friends and family members.
1) Watching the big game online
Desktop: If you can’t get to a television screen, CBS Sports is doing you a solid by streaming the entire broadcast on its website for free. Pregame programming begins at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET), with the game itself kicking off at 3:30 p.m. PT (6:30 p.m. ET). The CBS Sports website may actually provide a better experience than the traditional TV screen, as you can view the game from many different angles, check out a livestream of social activity, and play with several interactive features. But if, for whatever reason, you’re not a fan of CBS, then head over to the official NFL Network website to catch a free livestream of the game. If you live outside the country, though, you’ll be forced to purchase an NFL Game Pass to watch the Super Bowl.
Mobile: Can’t get to a television or desktop computer? If you’re Verizon customer, don’t worry. The wireless carrier/FiOS broadband Internet company is providing a Super Bowl livestream via its free NFL apps for iOS and Android to anyone with an NFL Mobile subscription ($5/mo.).
2) Watching the commercials online
You have a few options for keeping track of all the seemingly memorable Super Bowl commercials online, with many shortened or rejected versions of them already available for viewing online. I prefer to use the Hulu AdZone to watch the commercials, but YouTube’s AdBlitz is also a good option. Either way, watching the commercials online means you can skip the annual offering from GoDaddy, which is usually tasteless and degrading to women.
3) Second screen apps & services
Team Apps: Because most of you will be constantly glancing at your smartphone or tablet throughout the game anyway, this year’s Super Bowl comes with a handful of official mobile apps intended to enhance the viewing experience. Both the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers have applications available on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry that will give you game news, short replay videos, photo galleries, player interviews, statistics, and other goodies.
Super Bowl event app: This year the NFL is providing those attending the game with a mobile app to make the most of their undoubtedly expensive experience. It has a map feature showing nearby restaurants, music, ticketing information, etc. And if it’s anything like the 2012 version, it will include some useful features for people who aren’t at the game too.
4) What to watch at halftime: Beyoncé or puppies?
Musical Performance: This year, CBS Sports will be providing a livestream of the Super Bowl’s halftime show, something that wasn’t available to online viewers in the past. That means you now have the option of watching Beyoncé try to entertain rambunctious football fans. If that doesn’t appeal to you, here’s another option:
Puppy Bowl: I’m not sure who at cable network Animal Planet was responsible for making an entire halftime show devoted to puppies playing with balls in an adorable dog-sized football field. But it’s back again this year, and with a new partnership that will vastly improve your viewing experience. Animal Planet has teamed up with Yahoo’s IntoNow application to give you an easy way to share and caption a large volume of adorable puppy screenshots via its CapIt feature (a meme generator). You may remember that I thoroughly praised IntoNow for its ability to make the 2012 presidential debates far more enjoyable. This will be more of the same, except this time you’ll actually stand a chance of getting everyone in the room to agree that your tweets are indeed awesome. For now, check out some game predictions using puppies, courtesy of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:
5) Gameday Grub ideas
Foodily: Sure, you can definitely get away with ordering a few extra-large pizzas and opening a bag of chips, but why not go all out? I did a quick scan of some of the food startup blogs and was shocked to find that many of them had a pretty meager selection of Super Bowl food posts. Foodily, however, comes through, offering up not one, but three different posts that cover snacks, cocktails, and overall food. If you don’t like any of those selections, you can always search the site for more.
Yummly and Allrecipe: If you want a good recipe for regular game snack food, Allrecipe has collected a handy list of the most searched-for Super Bowl food. And if you have no idea what constitutes Super Bowl food or what the average football fan wants to eat, check out Yummly’s very extensive post on the subject using data from its own site.
Foodie iPad app: If you’re looking for a more directed crop of recipes, Glam Media’s cooking/food site Foodie has released a Foodie Recipes iPad app that highlights 40 game-day suggestions.
Seamless & GrubHub: If you hate cooking, or even leaving the confines of your house to pick up food for your guests, you can always use delivery services like Seamless or GrubHub to order from a ton of local restaurants.
6) Other miscellaneous Super Bowl-related apps, services, and content
Madden NFL 13: The EA Football game franchise is featuring a Ray Lewis pre-Super Bowl speech video on YouTube that’s available to watch now.
Xbox Live’s Sports Hub: A collection of Super Bowl-related content from a variety of Xbox media partners, including Hulu, Maxim, iHeartRadio, CrunchyRoll, and DailyMotion.
StatMilk: StatMilk has put together an interactive web infographic that compares statistical data of the Ravens and the 49ers. It’s actually pretty cool if you’re super into sports stats.
Swipper Bowl: Social startup Swipp has created a Swipper Bowl app that helps frame the discussion sports fans will likely be having via social media during the big game. To use it, you’ll need to connect with Facebook.
Football Party Game App: This is an iPad app/web app that lets you and a group of friends (wherever you are) to play a game of trivia during the Super Bowl. I’m not a fan of “pub quizzes” or trivia nights, but I have an exhausting list of friends who love it. It will, however, set you back $5.
TOK.tv iOS app: This app lets you chat with four other friends not in your general vicinity during the big game. It’s basically a Google Hangout that’s devoted to live sporting events. The TOK.tv iPad app is free and available in the iTunes store.
7) Avoiding the heck out of the actual Super Bowl
Hey sports haters and hermits, did you think we’d forget about you? Nope. Here are a few cool things you may want to know going into Super Bowl Sunday weekend (the thing that will render your Twitter feeds useless for much of Sunday evening).
Netflix Free weekend: Did you know that Netflix is letting anyone with an Xbox 360 + Xbox Live membership access its vast library of streaming videos for the whole weekend? If you didn’t, and you don’t already subscribe to Netflix, you now can catch up on old episodes of Star Trek, classic Disney cartoons, and marathon through the first few seasons of Vampire Diaries. Hulu Plus is also enabling free access to its Xbox Live app for the weekend.
House of Cards: In addition to the Xbox Live weekend promo, Netflix is also debuting its first super huge original TV show, House of Cards, which is said to be on par with the quality of HBO’s original programming. The good thing about Netflix, as opposed to the cable networks, is that you won’t have to wait 13 weeks to finish the first season. Netflix is releasing the whole thing today.
HBO Go: Again, the Super Bowl is so powerful that HBO made the decision to release the latest episode of its hit series Girls one day early (Saturday, Feb. 2). I can’t imagine that anyone who’s a die-hard Lena Dunham fan would be upset about missing the Super Bowl, but regardless, we all benefit.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section, and we’ll be sure to add it.