iPhone apps for the Super Bowl

Fans of the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints will obviously be pulling for their teams in this weekend's Super Bowl XLIV contest in Miami, hoping that their team not only triumphs but does so in the most efficient manner possible. No offense to the Colt and Saint faithful, but the rest of us who have no dog in this particular hunt are just hoping for a compelling football game.

The law of averages says we're due for a stinker. The last two years--the epic Giants-Patriots tilt in 2008 and the surprisingly tasty Steelers-Cardinals bash in 2009--both came down to the wire. Common sense dictates our run of good fortune has to end at some point, and that could very well be Sunday when the Saints and Colts conspire to give the world three-plus hours of tedium and foregone conclusions masquerading as an athletic contest. The sports fan in me hopes this isn't true; the pessimist in me fears that it is.

What's a football fan to do should the Super Bowl go off the rails super-fast? If that fan also happens to be toting an iPhone or iPod touch, an assortment of apps promise to augment your footballing experience. In advance of the big game, I took a look at several apps aimed at enhancing your football-watching experience, getting you fired up for the action, or giving you a source of cheap amusement should either team fail to deliver an exciting contest.

(Image Caption: Programming Notes: Super Bowl XLIV Official NFL Game Program delivers the souvenir program to your iPhone or iPod touch. But it's not in a very mobile-friendly format.)

from delivers the official souvenir program for the big game--the for three times the price--in mobile form. The program includes news and notes about the two teams vying for the Vince Lombardi trophy, along with feature articles about Miami, past Super Bowls, and notable football greats (as well as, oddly enough, star David Caruso). As an added bonus, the app also includes the program for last weekend's already-forgotten Pro Bowl game.

I thought that the Super Bowl XLIV Official NFL Game Program app might be the ideal game-time companion; indeed, tapping the screen, summons up a Game Center option that accesses stats from NFL.com. Unfortunately, the controls aren't all that smooth. You read the articles by scrolling up and down. A sideways swipe jumps you to the next article... eventually. Usually, there's a bit of a delay, and when the page does turn, it flips up or down, as if you're reading a notebook and not a magazine. You can pull up a table of contents, but the descriptions of articles are cut off, no matter if you're looking at them in Browse or List view.