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Stats, fumbles and cheeseheads: Football sites blitz Internet

September 18, 1997
Web posted at: 1:55 p.m. EDT (1755 GMT)
Cheesehead web site

From CNN Interactive Writer Wayne Drash

(CNN) -- Football Web sites have blitzed the Internet in recent years with such force that users can now get up-to-the-minute scores, chat with experts and create fantasy football teams -- all with the click of a button.

Like a 290-pound defensive end blindsiding a rookie quarterback, the information is sometimes dizzying, coming in fast and furious. But for football fanatics, the Web is the perfect place to keep tabs on the season without sifting through endless piles of newspapers and magazines.

It's as though users gather for an online tailgating brouhaha, a cyberspace pigskin roast where football is served on an all-you-can-eat platter.

Find the scoop on what Florida Gators think about this year's Heisman front-runner, Peyton Manning. Visit your favorite NFL team's home page. Scope Sports Illustrated before the magazine hits stands. Hobnob with Cheeseheads, the Green Bay Packer backers who don ersatz pieces of foam on their heads.

And fans from small colleges can keep track of Division III football and other lesser known teams -- information once confined to sports information directors and little-known sports publications.

Corporate quarterbacks

Football fans seeking the most current information should begin with the corporate heavy hitters, such as CNNSI, ESPN, USA Today and The Sporting News. The sites feature many of the same similarities, providing an arsenal of college and pro scoreboards, articles and statistics. But each site has its own distinguishing characteristics as well.

  • CNNSI (Pro and College) provides users with an easy-to-navigate site and quick download, along with its extensive coverage, scoreboards and message boards. The site is further boosted by columns and features from Sports Illustrated, most of which are released ahead of the print magazine.
  • ESPN (Pro and College) offers a nice interactive feel through user polls, chat rooms and other in-your-face football fun. What fan couldn't resist chatting with Beano Cook, the dean of college football? But its biggest downside: some of its value added material is reserved for subscribers only.
  • USA Today (Pro and College) has a clean layout that invites users to roam its extensive football gallery. The site prominently displays feature stories from the newspaper alongside links to scores, standings, transactions and other statistics. It also contains another must for football fans: the all-important TV schedule.
  • The Sporting News (Pro and College) hits users with an array of commentary, scoreboards, articles and links. One of its best features, besides the site's wonderful navigation, comes from Buddy Ryan, the gruff former NFL coach now turned columnist. He's a better writer than coach.
NFL web site

No creampuffs allowed

Plenty of other sites, however, sack the Internet without the corporate blitz. You'll want to bookmark the following:

  • Mr. Football: fantasy football, depth charts, news and links galore.
  • Nando: scores, stats, standings, bowl and TV schedules.
  • Dick Butkus Football Network: pro, college and high school rankings; scores, free agent transactions, team profiles.

And as you head for the end zone, be sure to stop by the NFL's home page, where you can find video of the week's highlights among piles of stats, standings and team information. And while you're at it, drop in on Monday Night Football's site, arguably the best and most savvy football site on the Web.


Related sites:

The Cheesehead Caravan to SUPERBOWL XXXI
USA Today
The Sporting News
Mr. Football
Dick Butkus Football Network
NFL's home page
Monday Night Football's
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