How to Watch NFL Games for Free Online – 2016-2017 Season

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NFL season is in full swing. However, getting access to every game is not always easy. Although most teams have regional agreements with over-the-air networks to show games locally, the NFL and the major networks work out deals for which games each network and their affiliates are allowed to show, and when. As a result, you might not be able to catch some of the most sought-after games, both in the regular season and even in the playoffs, unless you watch NFL games for free online. 

As it stands, the only networks with broadcasting rights areCBS, NBC, FOX, NFL Network, and ESPN, who share the games amongst themselves. The good news is that you can bypass these complex NFL game streaming agreements with a variety of online services. The best and easiest service is Kodi, although we do mention another method at the bottom. Our guide below will help you find where to stream NFL games for free, including the places you can turn for the best quality and most options.



Free NFL Online Streaming with Kodi

What is Kodi?

Kodi is a media center application that allows you to add different plugins, known as “add-ons”. These add-ons provide a host of services, primarily through web scraping of different websites. All of the Kodi add-ons on our list scrape from different websites that stream live TV content.

Click here to download the correct Kodi version for your operating system.

Once installed, Kodi is effectively empty. You’ll have to install the add-ons one by one unless you install a community made Kodi Build, which is a Kodi application that comes preloaded with a theme and a host of Kodi addons. For more information, refer to our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Kodi.

As mentioned earlier, your best option to stream NFL games free online is through using Kodi. The application offers you the chance to access live streams from many local network affiliates. This way, you can stream most, if not all of games, including those on ESPN and NFL Network. As NFL playoff games are primarily available on the major networks, you should also be able to stream all NFL playoff games free through Kodi as well. Continue scrolling to learn which add-ons, the primary plugins used to bring Kodi to live, would be best for streaming NFL games. First, however, a word on VPNs and why they are important for Kodi users.

Continue scrolling to learn which add-ons work best for streaming NFL games. First, however, a word on VPNs and why they are important for Kodi users.


Consider Using a VPN for NFL Live Streaming on Kodi

A VPN like IPVanish is a good tool to turn to when streaming NFL games online. 

Geographic content blocking is one solid reason to utilize a VPN. NBC, CBS, and FOX may block your access to online streaming due to your geographic location. This is determined by your IP address. A VPN assigns you a new IP address when you connect to different servers. Connecting to any of the major networks’ streaming online streaming sites afterward will thus give you access.

Additionally, Kodi users have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for streaming movies, sports, and TV shows through various addons. IPVanish encrypts your internet connections, ensuring that no one (including your ISP) can see what you’re streaming. We recommend IPVanish to keep those streaming habits private. It’s a complete privacy solution for Kodi users.

kodi security


Kodi Add-ons for Streaming NFL Games Online

The best Kodi add-ons we found for streaming NFL games for free online are cCloud TV, Castaway, and SportsDevil. These three add-ons scrape from websites that provide access to live streams for all of the sources mentioned at the bottom of this piece: NBC, CBS, FOX, NFL Network and ESPN. After you’ve installed Kodi, click to each installation guide to install the following add-ons.

cCloud TV

cCloud TV NFL

Click here to access our installation guide

This popular add-on provides working access to ESPN (rare), as well as a large number of local TV affiliates for FOX, CBS, and NBC. Streams are often broadcast in HD, with limited loading time. We cannot guarantee that all streams work for all local affiliates, nor that any streams will work at the time of a major game either. However, cCloud TV provides the most options than almost every other Kodi addon out there and is easily one of your best options for getting access to different games streamed in different regions of the U.S.

Castaway

Castaway NFL

Click here to access our installation guide

The Kodi community is not happy with Castaway, as this addon has seen its better days. However, it scrapes from  a few websites that provide excellent access to free NFL game streams. You’ll need to be on the lookout for shadownet.ro on this addon. This scraped site has several affiliate streams from CBS, NBC, and FOX, as well as working links for NFL Network and ESPN. This is a good option for catching as many games as possible, especially when NFL playoff season hits in January.

SportsDevil

SportsDevil NFL

Click here to access our installation guide

SportsDevil is not the best option out there. Its main function for anyone who wants to stream NFL games free online is that it scrapes from shadownet.ro. You’ll find that your options under SportsDevil are the same as they are under Castaway for shadownet.ro. As with Castaway, you’ll find CBS, NBC, FOX, NFL Network, and ESPN all with working streams within shadownet.ro.


NFL Network Agreements

We mentioned network agreements a bit in the introduction. These agreements limit which games the major networks can actually play, through which affiliates, and on what days. It’s important to understand how these agreements impact what you watch and where for two few key reasons:

  • Network agreements influence which sites we recommend for streaming NFL games online
  • Network agreements impact which games you may not be able to easily watch

Here’s a quick summary of NFL streaming and broadcast agreements:

NBC (thought 2022): Some Thursday games, occasional Saturday games, one wild-card playoff game, one divisional playoff game, Sunday night games   

CBS (through 2017): Mostly Thursday games, occasional Saturday games, most AFC playoff matches

FOX (through 2022): Mostly NFC Sunday matches, most NFC playoff games, 2017 Super Bowl

ESPN (through 2021): Monday night football, one wild-card playoff match;

NFL Network (through 2022): Thursday night football, at least one Sunday game

Networks pay big for these contracts, with the hopes of capturing significant advertising dollars. When looking for the best places to stream NFL games online, we paid special attention to where you can stream from these networks through local affiliates for when the games you want are not being shown in your area. With the exception


Watch NFL Games Online Free With Your Current Provider

If you already have a cable provider, you can catch a lot of games online free by logging into the major network websites. NBC, CBS, and FOX all allow you to login to their generic, non-local websites to watch live TV streaming. CBS now includes NFL games through its online live streaming. NBC and FOX both have regional restrictions for their online streaming. Some viewers may need to use a VPN in order to stream NFL games free online through NBC or FOX.

That said, these free online streaming options are only available if you already have a pay TV provider.