NFL Game Pass is one of the cheapest and most versatile NFL streaming services on the market. In this NFL Game Pass review, I'll evaluate the best and worst features of this service to help you determine if the content provided is worth the subscription price.
Game Pass is the NFL's online streaming service that provides instant access to live preseason games and same-day access to all other games throughout the season. Game Pass puts NFL fanatics and fantasy football enthusiasts in the GM seat with DVR-like controls that make finding the best football action quick and simple.
In addition to live and archived football games, subscribers to NFL Game Pass also get access to the NFL Films archives, audio-only game feeds, multiple game viewing angles, and more. Best of all, you can try the service for free to see if it's worth it!
Live preseason games and same-day access to all other regular season games.
Watch games on TV, smart phone or tablet, & most other connected devices & consoles.
DVR-like controls, condensed games, multiple viewing angles, and hometown announcing.
Watch every NFL game for less than the price of a stamp.
An Overview of NFL Game Pass in 2018
This NFL Game Pass Review is an in-depth analysis of what you can expect from the NFL's most affordable streaming service (warts & all). I'll talk about all of the impressive things that Game Pass has to offer and, when appropriate, where it might be lacking.
Game Pass is chock-full of fantastic features that go beyond simply watching NFL game replays. I'll take a deep-dive into these in the following sections.
But first, here is a list of most notable features that you'll have access to with an NFL Game Pass subscription. And yes, you can also watch games in forward motion..
My favorite features of GamePass
Where GamePass is lacking
Analyzing the key features of NFL Game Pass in 2018
Curious about what features NFL Game Pass includes? Here is a list of the most interesting features for the 2018 season. Click on any of these items to jump to an in-depth review of that feature below:
Watch live, out-of-market preseason games
When it comes to watching preseason games, the vast majority of NFL fans are limited to watching their hometown teams (if they're not blacked-out) and preseason games that are televised nationally. Game Pass makes every out-of-network preseason game available to you in real time.
For NFL fanatics, the preseason is an ideal time to evaluate the talent on the teams of your conference and division rivals. And for fantasy football owners, this provides a great way to appraise players that we might consider moving up our draft boards.
NFL Game Pass live games are available in real-time but are subject to blackout rules. This means you won't have access to preseason games that are available on nationally televised broadcasts in your area. In this review, we'll detail the blackout rules.
When are games available on NFL Game Pass?
The one drawback of NFL Game Pass is that you don't have instant access to all regular season games for the current NFL season. But how many games can you reasonably watch at one time anyway?
Although you don't have instant access to games, Game Pass does provide same-day access to all regular season games, playoff games, and the Super Bowl.
So what is the NFL Game Pass delay for regular season games?
- Sunday morning and afternoon games (8:30 am CST, 12 pm CST, & 3 pm CST) will be available by 7 PM CST on Sunday evening
- Sunday evening, Monday evening, Thursday evening, and Saturday games will be available as soon as the game ends
- If you are currently using your NFL Game Pass 7 Day Free Trial, Thursday nights will not be available until 72 hours after the game
If you're like me and this sounds like an insanely fair deal for the price, try Game Pass for free.
Watch entire games in under 45 minutes using Condensed Mode
Do you love NFL football but hate the commentating and dead time between plays? The Condensed Games feature of Game Pass allows you to watch all of the real action (from snap to tackle) in around 45 minutes.
If you're in a hurry or just want to get the full game experience in as little time as possible, you'll really enjoy this unique option in Game Pass. It is also an efficient way to evaluate fantasy football talent if you plan on watching multiple games in one sitting.
To watch full NFL games game in under 45 minutes, simply click the Condensed button on the target game in the Game Pass control panel.
Coaches Film viewing introduces two new angles for every NFL play
NFL Game Pass recently added a Coaches Film feature that adds two new viewing angles for every play. You'll have access to the same film perspective that coaches, GMs, and commentators use to take in all of the action.
If you're evaluating a specific player or player grouping, this is invaluable as you can be certain to isolate these individuals on every play. These players will never disappear off of the screen so you can evaluate them from start to finish.
Coaches Film can be activated from within the game viewer interface. If you begin watching a game in this mode, you'll see each play replayed twice in succession. First, it will be displayed in the All-22 angle, then again using the High Endzone angle (with the offense facing the camera).
- All-22 Angle - This angle positions the camera high above the field, ensuring all 22 players are in the view throughout the entire play
- Endzone Angle - A high angle from above the goal post on the defensive side of the ball
All-22 Angle vs Endzone Angle
The two images below illustrate the viewing angles available using the Coaches View feature. As you can see, these two new perspectives are great for evaluating players that are close to the play as well as DBs that are far from the ball.
With these two angles, you won't miss a thing. Check it out for yourself.
High Endzone Angle
Curate playlists based on a wide range of game search criteria
The Search Plays feature of Game Pass is literally a search engine for NFL games. You can watch specific plays or create playlists based on search results. When searching games you can specify the following search criteria:
How to create a playlist for a specific player
Let's say I'm evaluating a player for my 2018 fantasy football draft: New Orleans Saint Michael Thomas. Specifically, I want to view all passing plays involving Michael Thomas for the 2017 season. In this scenario, I'd configure the following filters:
- Players: "Michael Thomas"
- Teams: New Orleans Saints (b/c there are more than one "Michael Thomas" in the NFL
- Plays: "Passing Plays" (I don't want to see plays where he ran the ball)
The search results contain every passing play involving New Orleans Saint Michael Thomas. From here you can either watch a specific play or watch the search results as a playlist by clicking the film icon (circled in the image below). Plays in a playlist will be shown in chronological order.
If you're a fantasy football owner looking to gain an edge, you should be able to see how powerful a feature like this can be. Just search for the players you'd like to evaluate, start a playlist, and start taking notes. Very cool.
The preseason is the perfect time to try out Game Pass. Fantasy football drafts are right around the corner!
Access to NFL game archives as far back as 2011
Accessing game replays is as simple as selecting the desired NFL season and target week. Every game is available for every archived season, from the preseason through the Super Bowl.
The games you request will appear in a grid, but initially without the final score displayed. This is so you won't see any spoilers if you're planning on watching multiple replays and don't want to know the final scores yet.
If you enable the "Scores" setting, the games displayed will show the final score and the winning team will be highlighted.
Listen to audio versions of games instead of streaming video
Back in 2015, Game Pass was merged with NFL Audio Pass, a service that allowed you to access game archives strictly in audio format. If you like to listen to games while you're running or working out, this will allow you to listen to games while using only a fraction of the bandwidth required to stream game video.
To listen to the audio-only version of an archived game, simply hover over the target game and click on the Listen button. Please note that NFL Game Pass audio only mode is not available on some devices.
With HomeTown Audio you can even hear games called by your hometown announcers
Any football fan can tell you that games are so much more enjoyable when they are called by your hometown commentators. In addition to hearing the voices and personalities that you're accustomed to, hometown broadcasts frequently include sideline reports and player updates that aren't part of the televised broadcast.
When listening to any game in audio format, you are presented with the option to listen to the broadcast from the Home or Away team's perspective. Simply choose the option relevant to your team and you'll enjoy the full game audio from your favorite hometown personalities.
NFL Game Pass device support and compatibility
Game Pass is optimized to run on a variety of different devices including game consoles, phones, tablets, and televisions. For domestic Game Pass subscriptions in 2018, you can safely stream the service on the following devices.
How much does NFL Game Pass Cost in 2018?
At its most expensive, NFL Game Pass costs $99. However, the price of NFL Game Pass changes as the season progresses. Game Pass pricing starts out at $99 August 1st and, if 2017 is any indication, will drop in price by $10 every month or so until it settles at $49 during the NFL offseason.
Finding the value in a 2018 GamePass subscription
If you consider that there are 256 NFL games played every season, you're looking at a cost of roughly $0.39 per game (not counting playoff games or the Super Bowl). So the cost to watch an archived NFL game, on the same day it is played, is less than the price of a stamp.
Of course, if you're like me you'll only catch maybe two extra games each week. Still, that's a little over $3.00/game over the course of an entire season (not counting the replays of my favorite team which I'll probably watch several times).
If you ask me, it's a stellar deal.
NFL Game Pass free trial terms and stipulations
I learned the ins and outs of GamePass by signing up for their 7-day free trial. During the NFL Game Pass trial period, you will have access to all of the content that is available to paid subscribers.
Game Pass offers their free trial throughout the year, so you can experiment with the service before making a buying decision. The only stipulation they put on trial memberships is that you won't have same day access to Thursday night games. Instead, you'll have to wait a full 48 hours to watch the replays.
NFL Game Pass vs Sunday Ticket
When you stack it up against other NFL streaming services, the pricing for Game Pass is much more affordable than similar streaming services.
For instance, at the time I'm writing this article, the cost of NFL Sunday Ticket is four installments of $69.99. That's almost $300 for the entire season (roughly 200% more than GamePass).
Of course, comparing NFL Sunday Ticket vs Game Pass isn't exactly fair because with the former you get real-time streaming of all NFL games. Still, the price difference between the two services is fairly significant.
If you have access to DirectTV, you can get NFL Sunday Ticket for free. However, if you don't have DirectTV and want to get access to NFL Sunday Ticket, you'll have to sign a lengthy Direct TV contract.
Does Game Pass cost change during the season?
NFL Game Pass subscriptions are available for purchase all year long. But does the cost stay the same all year long? Actually, it doesn't.
The cost of an NFL Game Pass subscription is reduced as the season rolls along. The service starts at $99.99 right before the season and is reduced by roughly $10 every 4-5 weeks.
After the season concluded in 2017, the final Game Pass cost was listed at $49.99 (right around half of what you would have paid at the beginning of the season).
For those of you that are only interested in GamePass for evaluating fantasy talent during the offseason, that could be a great time to sign-up.
If you take advantage of the cheap off season cost of Game Pass, just be aware that the reduced price ends on July 31st. After this date you'll have to pay the full price to retain your subscription. The reduced price is only good during the off season.
Are there payment plans available with Game Pass?
Yes, Game Pass offers a flexible payment plan that allows you to pay for the service in monthly installments. The catch is that you'll end up paying slightly more than if you paid in one lump sum.
If you opt to pay monthly, you'll pay four installments of $29.99. All together it will cost you $119.96 compared to the one-time price of $99.99. So it's a few bucks more, but still an awesome deal and a way to start enjoying games right away even if you can't pay the full up-front cost.
NFL Game Pass promo codes, discount code, and coupons
If you search around the web you might find a few sites that advertise an NFL Game Pass promo code or coupon code. Personally, none of these worked for me when I signed-up for my account. You may have different luck but to my knowledge, these don't work.
The only NFL Game Pass promo that I see advertised, and which I have access to as an affiliate, is the 7-day free trial. That's the best deal going if you'd like to try out the service for yourself.
NFL Game Pass International service
NFL Game Pass packages their service according to viewing country. This means both plan features and plan costs will vary depending on where you watch NFL Game Pass.
You might be surprised (and maybe even a little bit upset) to learn that International NFL Game Pass plans allow for live streaming of every NFL game. On the contrary, NFL Game Pass live streaming simply isn't an option with the domestic plan.
So why would the NFL prevent its loyal fan base in the U.S. from streaming games live? In the immortal words of George Carlin: "Well, you're just going to have to figure that one out for yourself".
How much does NFL Game Pass International cost?
NFL Game Pass International costs varies by the country where you're consuming the service. For example, Game Pass subscribers in the UK might pay a different price than viewers in Germany.
Which countries qualify for the NFL Game Pass International plan?
Just because you reside outside the contiguous United States doesn't mean you qualify for the International Game Pass plan. You will still fall under the Game Pass Domestic package if you live in any of the other U.S. territories:
To determine the cost of NFL Game Pass in your country, you'll have to visit the official website to view the pricing. To check if Game Pass is available in your part of the world, review the official country list.
Who would benefit most from Game Pass?
Game Pass isn't for everyone. Some people need the instant gratification of watching every game live. Unfortunately for these fans, they'll have to pay-up for an expensive service like NFL Sunday Ticket.
So what kind of NFL fan would benefit the most from a service like Game Pass?
1. NFL fanatics who simply can't get enough
For the NFL fan who loves keeping up with all of the action across the entire league, you can't get much better than Game Pass. The ability to watch condensed actions means you can practically watch every game every week.
2. Fantasy football owners who want to do their own scouting
The ability to watch live preseason games means fantasy football owners can actively scout before their fantasy draft. The two new viewing angles provided by Coaches Film make it easier than ever to evaluate players on your cheat sheets.
Once the seasons starts, you can continue to scout players on your league's waiver wire. The Play Search feature allows you to isolate those plays that involve a specific player, making it much easier to evaluate and prioritize your waiver requests each week.
3. People who work during NFL broadcast times
If you are an NFL fan but work a Sunday afternoon or night shift, you're unfortunately going to miss the vast majority of games each NFL season. If you find yourself in this predicament, NFL Game Pass is worth its weight in gold.
If you plan on watching multiple games after their broadcast, you can even turn off scoreboard notifications during the replays. This way, you won't see the scores for those games before you get a chance to watch their replay.
NFL Game Pass FAQ
How does NFL Game Pass work?
NFL Game Pass works like any other streaming service. For a yearly subscription fee, you get on-demand access to NFL games (and lots of other football-related content) throughout the NFL football season.
As with most streaming services, you can access the video and audio archives (and live preseason games) from an assortment of different devices and gaming consoles.
How do I get NFL Game Pass?
You can subscribe to the Game Pass service by visiting the official website. Once on the official website, simply select the payment option you prefer and subscribe.
Does NFL Game Pass include playoffs?
Yes, with Game Pass you get access to all playoff games. However, the NFL Game Pass delay applies to domestic packages. Customers of NFL Game Pass International will have instant, live access to playoff games.
Can you watch live games on NFL Game Pass?
With a domestic NFL Game Pass subscription, you can only watch live preseason games. With NFL Game Pass International, all games are streamed live.
What games are blacked-out in Game Pass?
Blackout restrictions are the result of deals between the NFL and regional TV partners. The NFL agrees not to make live games available via stream so that their TV partners enjoy the largest viewing audience possible. This results in more money generated from the advertisements aired during these broadcasts.
For domestic customers in the U.S. and associated territories, the only live games available on Game Pass are preseason games. As such, blackout restrictions only apply to live preseason games. So if there is a national broadcast of a preseason game in your area, that game won't be available to stream live from NFL Game Pass.
If you're an international viewer, the NFL Game Pass blackouts get much more convoluted because you indeed have access to live games all season long. For more information on blackouts, I advise you visit the NFL Game Pass website and look for blackout rules that apply to your country.