Bears

Super Bowl LI: An online guide to the game, ads and taunts

Super Bowl LI: An online guide to the game, ads and taunts

NEW YORK (AP) -- You can watch the Super Bowl online for free, but there are a few catches. For starters, you're out of luck on phones unless you're a Verizon customer. And if you're interested in the ads, you may have a surprise in store.

Here's your online guide to the matchup in Houston between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.

WATCHING THE GAME

It's true: Some people will be watching the Super Bowl for the actual game on an actual TV.

You can join them even if you don't have a cable subscription or a good signal with an antenna. Just fire up the Fox Sports Go app on many streaming TV devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox. Fox is suspending its usual requirement that you log on with a cable or satellite account, meaning it's free.

If you can't get to a TV, try the Fox Sports Go app on a tablet or FoxSportsGo.com on a laptop or desktop. Verizon has exclusive rights on phones. If you're a Verizon customer, you can watch through the NFL Mobile app. Otherwise, find another device.

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WATCHING THE ADS

The Super Bowl is the rare event where viewers do pay attention to ads . A 30-second spot goes for about $5 million.

Fox's online stream will get you most of the same ads shown on television. This includes local ads, thanks to a technology Fox is employing to customize the stream to your local station.

The catch is that a handful of stations aren't participating, so you may see a static screen denoting a commercial break. There may also be a few cases in which a national or local advertiser has bought the spot for television only; a substitute ad may appear online in its place.

You can also watch many of the ads on the web. Fox is planning to showcase ads at FoxSports.com. You can also check iSpot.tv and YouTube's AdBlitz . Hulu has shown Super Bowl ads in the past, but it isn't planning to this year. You don't have to wait until Sunday, as many of the ads are already available online.

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GIZMOS GALORE

Fox is partnering with Intel to offer replays from the perspective of players on the field. Fox isn't mounting cameras on individual players. Rather, it's using 38 cameras surrounding the field. Powerful computers then create videos to depict how a play would have looked to the player. Although these are 360-degree videos, don't expect a lot of viewer control. They will be more like replays shown as part of the regular broadcast, available a few minutes after the play.

If you have a virtual-reality headset such as Google Cardboard or Samsung's Gear VR, you can get highlights and top plays through the Fox Sports VR app. Without a headset, you can also view 360-degree video with a phone, but it won't be as immersive. You'll need to sign in with a cable or satellite account to watch in VR.

VIDEO EXTRAS

Fox has video specials throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter, as well as Fox websites and apps. On Sunday, Fox is offering a backstage look before the game; the online-only NFL Field Pass stream is expected to include player arrivals, on-field warmups and various stadium activities.

It's not clear whether Fox's pre-game and postgame television coverage will be available through Fox apps and websites. Even if it is available, it's possible a cable or satellite account will be needed. Fox didn't respond to inquiries for clarification.

If that's something you need to have online, you may want to invest in an online television package such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue or DirecTV Now. A subscription will cost at least $25 a month (though weeklong free trials are available). But check to make sure those services offer Fox stations in your city; that's only true in a handful of locations across the country. A subscription to PlayStation Vue or DirecTV Now will also get you Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl, an homage to the big game played with puppies.

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DIGITAL SMARTS

Virtual assistants such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa have been tweaked to understand Super Bowl questions. Ask either for player and team stats, or the latest Super Bowl odds (you're on your own for actual bets).

And if someone at your party is cheering for, um, the wrong team, Alexa can help with taunts. Just ask, "Alexa, give me a Patriots burn" or "Alexa, give me a Falcons burn."

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Trubisky believes Bears will stand for national anthem

Trubisky believes Bears will stand for national anthem

Mitch Trubisky met with reporters after OTAs on Wednesday and addressed the NFL owners' unanimous approval of a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field while it's performed. If they don't want to stand, they can remain in the locker room or teams will be subject to fines.

The Bears avoided the media firestorm around the national anthem last season. No one on the roster kneeled. Instead, teammates locked arms and Trubisky believes it will be more of the same in 2018.

"I’m just proud of how our team handled last year. It's in the past and I believe we’ll all stand on the field together this year," Trubisky told reporters at Halas Hall. "It is what it is. I think it’s all about eliminating distractions for the team and for the audience. Just represent yourself and the organization in the right manner.”

STANKEVITZ: NFL Anthem policy won’t keep Sam Acho, others from standing up for what they believe in

Trubisky is the unquestioned leader of the Bears, only one year removed from Mike Glennon's proclamation that this was his team. Now, with a new coach and elevated expectations, Trubisky must weather the off-field issues that naturally come with a leadership role.

No off-field issue is bigger than a comment by the President of the United States, which happened Thursday in response to the national anthem policy during in an interview on "Fox and Friends".

“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it’s good," Trump said. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.” 

This is an issue that isn't going away anytime soon. Fortunately, Trubisky appears ready to shoulder the heavy burden and potential strain a social issue like this can bring to a locker room. 

Bears coaching upheavals portend inevitable stumbles

Bears coaching upheavals portend inevitable stumbles

Call it a small Bears reality check, if not a full wake-up call, then at least a nudge in the night. And this sort of thing should be expected, not just in OTAs, not just in training camp or preseason, but when it all counts.

And it should serve as a lesson of sorts. Because some of the underlying reasons are worth a little highlighting and patient understanding around a team that has spent its offseason and millions of dollars refashioning an offense, beginning with coach Matt Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich, and that offense wasn’t particularly good on Wednesday.

In a sport where the operative cliché is “just get better each and every day,” the Bears didn’t, but as far as their coach is concerned, “there’s two ways to look at it,” Nagy said. “Whether you say on our side, on offense, trying to see a bunch of different looks a defense can give you, is it too much or not? It’s good for us. It’ll help us out in the long run. It’s good for our players and they’ve handled it well. There’s going to be mistakes but they have it on tape to be able to look at. “

This is about more than just a few bad reps or missed assignments. It’s part of the good-news-bad-news reality that a sea change brings to a team.

The good news is that the Bears have a new coaching staff on offense.

The bad news is that the Bears have a new coaching staff on offense.

The Bears defense is predictably ahead of the offense, hardly a surprise, given that most of the core of the top-10 unit has remained in place. That said, you do have to like the attitude of the barely-above-rookie No. 1 quarterback challenging that assessment Wednesday, with a “Who says that?”

This while the offense has myriad moving and new parts, and interceptions, blown plays and such were occurring for an offense that, like Halas Hall, is a massive building work in progress.

“Well, today was a bad ‘build,’ but that’s to be expected,” Helfrich acknowledged. “We’re adding a chunk each day, I thought today was the first day where we had somebody do something that just like, ‘wait, OK’ – a few positions here and there, a few new guys, obviously a few veterans here and there that it’s all new to, hit the wall.”

It’s a “wall” that arguably is inevitable with a coaching change.

Not to make excuses, but….

For a sense of perspective, scroll back to Jay Cutler, who went through offensive coordinators perhaps faster than he went through socks: a year with Ron Turner, two with Mike Martz, one with Mike Tice, two with Aaron Kromer, one with Adam Gase, one with Dowell Loggains, who at least was a holdover from the Gase year. (Whether Cutler’s failure to match potential with production was the cause of or because of that turnover, this humble and faithful narrator leaves to you, the reader).

More than a few current Bears can only dream of that kind of “stability.” And because of that, the 2018 pre- and regular seasons may be bumpier than the optimism surrounding the Nagy hire was anticipating.

Guard Kyle Long, still not practicing full-go while he rehabs from surgeries, is on his fifth offensive-line coach in six NFL seasons. Center Cody Whitehair, who has started every game since the Bears drafted him in the 2016 second round, has had three different line coaches in as many seasons: Dave Magazu for 2016, Jeremiah Washburn for 2017 and now Harry Hiestand. Left tackle Charles Leno was drafted in 2014, making Hiestand Leno’s fourth O-line coach.

And this is the offensive line, the unit that most engenders use of the term “continuity.”

“Each coach brings in a little bit, different techniques,” Whitehair said. “There’s a lot of time for us to hone in and get to know what he’s trying to teach us. But in the end it’s still football.”

Kevin White is entering his fourth NFL season. He is on his fourth receivers coach (Mike Groh, Curtis Johnson, Zach Azzanni, Mike Furrey) and third different season-starting quarterback (Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky), not including offseason battery mates ranging from Jimmy Clausen, Brian Hoyer, David Fales and Connor Shaw, depending on how much rep time he spent with which unit at various times during his training camps.

“It doesn’t matter,” White said. “Roll with the punches, come here and do my job every day.”

Regardless of how many bosses you’ve reported to.