The National Football League

null
AP Photo/Gene Puskar

Football

When Bradbury Robinson of St. Louis University threw an oval-shaped ball to teammate Jack Schneider in 1906, he not only completed the first forward pass in history, he created an American sensation. A century later, football is the largest spectator sport in the United States, with the Super Bowl drawing in excess of 90 million television viewers annually. As one would expect, there are quality football Web sites in every nook of cyberspace, offering everything from rules and regulations to team and player information for nearly every conceivable level of competition. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

The National Football League

Information on the National Football League (NFL) is about as plentiful as sun in the Sahara. Not only are there a number of sites offering the latest football league, team, and player news, but you'll also find commentary, statistics, audio/video, blogs, and NFL merchandise with a simple click of the mouse.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Because of the vast array of quality sites and information relating to football, it is best to try to determine what specifically you are searching for before beginning your online adventure. Utilize the menu bars and internal site search engines to their fullest extent in order to save time (and possibly frustration).
  • Local newspaper and television news sites are often great sources for exclusive material and in-depth NFL team and player analysis.

Dulcinea's Picks

For general information ...
Back to Top

NFL Statistics and Fantasy Football Information

Although most of the major pro football sites offer at least a rudimentary look at the numbers, some of the very best sources for hardcore football statistics are smaller sites, run by devoted fans or sports betting sites.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Like beauty, the value of statistical information is in the eyes of the beholder. For football fans interested in the history of the game, traditional stats are likely to be more meaningful and more appreciated. For those who enjoy going "beyond the numbers," sites offering unique rankings or team "power" ratings may be more helpful. And fantasy football fans are probably best served by sticking to those sites that produce numbers and analysis based on a scoring system that is at least similar to the one their particular league employs.
  • The above notwithstanding, don't be afraid to cull information from different, seemingly divergent sources. Remember, in sports, things are constantly changing-whether it's rules, style of play, or the athletes themselves. Sometimes the best statistical perspective is also the broadest.

Dulcinea's Picks

For NFL team and player statistics ...
For NFL fantasy football information and statistics ...
Back to Top

Player Bios for the NFL and College Football

Football player biographies usually fall into one of two categories: informational or statistical. But the best sites will feature both. Check out each player's team site, as well as those listed below.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Biographical information on current NCAA and NFL players is plentiful, and most search engine queries are fruitful, providing decent sources of information.
  • Try to be precise in your keyword searches for past and present players, especially if you are looking for information on a specific event. For example, if you are interested in Adam "Pacman" Jones' (growing) criminal record, a search using "pacman jones criminal record" is a good way to start. In general, the most effective way to conduct an Internet search is to think of it as an inverted funnel, whereby one starts with a narrow scope of inquiry that grows broader as needs dictate.
  • In instances where a player has a common name, like John Smith, for example, try adding more information to your search, i.e., "John Smith Baylor college football player."

Dulcinea's Picks

For NFL player bios ...
For NCAA player bios ...
Back to Top

NFL Video, Audio and Podcasts

At one time, free NFL audio/video game feeds were plentiful; now, they're about as common as "free" music from Napster. NFL.com offers a premium package, as do some of the other major network sites, but for those with tighter budgets, your best bet will be some of the graphical play-by-play scoreboards that simulate game action in near real time. Use this section to learn about how to watch and listen to football action.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • The NFL Field Pass, which offers the radio broadcasts for all 32 NFL teams, is relatively inexpensive but make sure your computer is up to snuff before you part with your hard-earned dough or ill-gotten booty. The various system requirements can be found in the Field Pass Q & A section.
  • Make sure, if you do opt to buy a video or audio package, that you stay active at your keyboard or adjust the time of your computer's "sleep" mode to account for longer down times. This will prevent a potential "Heidi Bowl" scenario where your computer shuts off in the final, nail-biting moments of a ballgame.
  • Podcasts tend to come and go faster than Ryan Leaf's career in the NFL, so try not to get too attached. On the other hand, the "podplosion" that occurred a few years ago caused many major media sites to join the pod parade, which has led to some truly outstanding offerings. ESPN, for example, now has a great catalog of free audio content.
  • When perusing podcast directories, like TPSRadio.net, the sports sections of PodcastAlley.com, or Podcastpickle.com, be aware that most of them use listener votes as the prime criterion in assessing a podcast's popularity, a system that is easily manipulated. Hence, you will often see "popular" shows that haven't released new content in months or even years.
  • Another option is to find the flagship radio station for the team in question and visit that station's Web site to learn if they offer live streaming audio.

Dulcinea's Picks

For NFL game audio/video ...
For NFL podcasts ...
Back to Top

NFL Blogs

Blogs are a great source of information on football and the NFL, and are usually monitored more closely than forums; hence, less irrelevant posts. Many teams now operate their own blogs, often using past and present team members or coaches to post comments.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Like podcasts, blogs tend to come and go. So, if you find one you really like, be sure to comment on the stories and tell your friends about it. The more people that visit the site and voice their opinions, the more likely it is for the blog to continue.
  • Those interested in team-specific blogs should consult the Web site of that team, which can be found on the home page of NFL.com. Others should peruse the following sites.
  • Wikipedia's "External Links" sections, found at the bottom of each team's entry, can be great for finding official and unofficial blogs and discussion forums for your favorite NFL and college teams.

Dulcinea's Picks

For NFL blogs ...
Back to Top

Professional and College Football Merchandise

NFL and college football merchandise is everywhere: sporting good stores, department stores, street corners (you might want to avoid the latter, especially if they offer to throw in a discounted Rolex with your purchase). If you'd like to make your purchase online, the following resources will be extremely helpful.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Although finding a good deal is an American tradition, remember that licensed products (such as NFL jerseys and hats) will typically cost more than unlicensed ones. So, if you are someone who insists on authenticity, beware of extreme discounts. Sticking to official NFL or NCAA-sanctioned outlet stores and/or Web sites is your safest bet.
  • If you don't care whether the products and apparel you're looking to buy are licensed or not, peruse your favorite online retailer or auction site.

Dulcinea's Picks

For NFL merchandise ...
For NCAA merchandise ...
Back to Top

NFL and College Football Tickets

Like finding NFL and NCAA merchandise, finding an NFL or NCAA ticket vendor is like finding a needle in a needle stack (assuming there is such a thing). Once again, your best bet is through official league or team sites. In this section, we'll provide you with a few options, including how to buy from other fans.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Go to the home team Web site to get an idea of the stadium layout and seating arrangements before you purchase your tickets. That way, you'll have a better idea of what you're buying.
  • Don't forget auction sites and newspaper sites when searching for cheap tickets. The closer to game time, the more likely you will be able to find a bargain (or be sitting at home for the coin toss).

Dulcinea's Picks

For NFL tickets ...
For NCAA tickets ...
For both college and pro football tickets ...
Back to Top

NCAA Football Information

Prior to the 1950s, college football was the preeminent source of football fun in America. The names are legendary. Walter Camp, Knute Rockne, Jim Thorpe, Bronko Nagurski, Red Grange, and John William Heisman (for whom the Heisman Trophy was named) are just a few of the celebrated players that figured prominently in the growth of American football. And, just as with the pro game, there are a number of great sites offering information and data on NCAA football.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Because of the sheer number of college teams and the extensive history of the sport, searching newspaper and library archives-either online or off-may be the most productive way to research your team's history. Utilizing sites that offer links to references, such as (some) Wikipedia entries, should also help to cut down on your research time. Check this entry on Notre Dame as an example.
  • Sometimes searching by conference or division can be beneficial in reducing your research time.

Dulcinea's Picks

For general college football information ...
Back to Top

NCAA Statistics

At least for Division I-A and Division I-AA squads, finding college football individual and team stats is relatively simple and can be accomplished by visiting many of the same online sites referenced in the pro section. For unique NCAA stat sites, facts and figures on the more obscure schools, try the Web sites listed below.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Due to the voluminous number of college teams, players and coaches, some of the data available, such as information on NCAA record holders, comes in the form of PDF files. In order to read these files, you will need to download a free version of Adobe Reader.
  • With college sports in particular, team power ratings and the polls can be useful in giving perspective to the numbers. Remember also that college overtime rules often skew certain team and individual scoring statistics.

Dulcinea's Picks

For college team and player statistics ...
Back to Top

College Football Video, Audio, Podcasts and Blogs

Luckily, many college football teams still have free audio and video of their games available to the Internet-browsing public. There are also a number of good blogs and podcasts available.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • In addition to checking out the game audio/video sites below, college football fans should also browse the school Web sites of each of the teams competing in the game they wish to hear or watch, as many schools have their own audio/video links.
  • Those interested in team-specific blogs and podcasts should likewise consult the Web site of that school.

Dulcinea's Picks

For NCAA audio/video, blogs, and podcasts ...
Back to Top

Different Football Leagues

NFL and NCAA football are, obviously, just the tip of the gridiron iceberg. There are peewee football leagues, junior high school leagues, high school leagues, and even arena football and semi-pro competition.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Typically, the further one strays from the pro and major college games, the harder it is to find good, reliable information. Nonetheless, there are a lot of great sites waiting to help-it's just a matter of finding them. A good source for primary school leagues is to consult one's elementary school or state high school athletic association site or sites such as HighSchoolSports.net, which offers the schedules, scores, and team rosters of each participating school and athletic program.
  • Because several well-known NFL stars, such as Kurt Warner, began their careers playing in lower level professional leagues, it might be worth searching a variety of pro and amateur sites when looking for specific player information.

Dulcinea's Picks

For other football leagues ...
Back to Top

Most Recent Guides