Feb 4th, 2011

The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are set to clash this Sunday, February 6th on the biggest stage in American football, and the NFL expects to break viewing records of all kinds. (Including ones they’ve already set.)

We can’t imagine that a good amount of folks who’ll help break those records – you – aren’t Android users. And we bet some of you would like to know how you can use your phones and tablets to be kept “in-the-know” with any and everything Super Bowl.

Thus: Super Bowl 45 apps! What’s out there? What should you download to keep you on top of things if you’re not able to watch, and what should you use to help you get around if you’re heading out to North Texas to experience the spectacle in person? Let’s take a look. [Note: All app names linked point to their respective entries in the official Android market.]

Going to Arlington?

If you’re lucky enough to be headed to Arlington, Texas to sit (or stand) inside Jerry’s World (otherwise known as Cowboys Stadium), you’ll definitely want to download the official Super Bowl 45 app. It gives you a 3D map of the gigantic Cowboys Stadium, which statisticians say is taller than the statue of liberty and wide enough to fit the empire state building. It’ll also give you a map of North Texas and will assist you in finding spots to eat, drink, and sleep.

And if you’re like me and you like to make your friends jealous of the places you go, you’ll want to add Foursquare to your repertoire. Let them know with the click of a button that they’re missing out on one of the most amazing experiences one could be a part of, football fan or otherwise.

If you need some local commentary while you watch your favorite team compete for the Lombardi trophy, TuneIn Radio is the perfect app to add to your tray. You’d be short sellling yourself of everything that makes the Super Bowl special, but there’s nothing like over-excited sports commentators making the affair sound epic.

Want to head to a bar or restaurant?

The Super Bowl is an expensive event to attend. Most people don’t travel to the city where the venue is being held, of course. And even if they do, the locals are going to capitalize on your need for convenience throughout the hectic atmosphere that surrounds the big game. (I read somewhere that third-party parking lots would charge as much as $500 per car. That’s without valet.)

Because of expenses and lack of ticket availability, most folks choose to enjoy the game at home, and a lot of them like to watch it with fellow fans at bars and pubs. Yelp, Where, and Google Places (bundled with Google Maps) are but a few of the market’s premier apps to help you find great places to wine and dine. Give them a whirl if you don’t have a favorite place already.

Google Maps also included a layer throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup showing you places in your city to watch the tournament matches. They haven’t included anything for the Super Bowl yet, as far as I can tell, but keep your eye on it over the weekend to see if anything pops up.

Not able to watch?

I know a good chunk of you might be at church, a family gathering, or even work. Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to stick with an app that clues you in on scores and stats via text. Those on Verizon Wireless have a convenient NFL Mobile app to use, but the rest of you will have to use something else.

Sprint customers can use Sprint’s Football app that comes pre-installed with most of their devices, but I can’t vouch for its reliability. Personally, I use ESPN Scorecenter to keep up with scores for my favorite NBA team – the Dallas Mavericks – whenever I can’t watch them on TV. (Which is quite often.)

It updates frequently, reliably, and has as many stats as you could care to handle. SportsTap, Yahoo’s Live Scores, and Score Mobile are all fine alternatives. And if you’re able to listen to a bit of audio, download TuneIn Radio for local and nationwide sports stations, including those from ESPN. (No need to buy their radio app!)

Get Into the Team Spirit

You’ll need to represent your respective team, of course. Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers can download their official application – Steelers GameDay Plus – for live scores, news, and updates. There’s also a fan app called Terrible Towel that we hear is pretty good. And searching for “Pittsburgh Steelers” brings up a selection of appropriately themed clocks, wallpapers, and widgets.

Those of you rooting for Green and Gold (coughMYSELFcough) will be sad to hear that Green Bay doesn’t have an official app for Android, but we’ve been assured that one is in the works. And there aren’t a whole lot of fully-featured fan-made apps that we’d get behind, but you can search a pretty decent selection of Packer-themed wallpapers, themes, and widgets here.

And if you just love the Super Bowl and want to rep the game in general, there’s a nice-looking official Super Bowl 45 clock widget available for download here.

What are some apps you’ll be downloading to take care of whatever you need to take care of? Is it a shopping app to get food and supplies for a party you’re throwing? Will you be using one of the many social “places” apps in the Android market to look for a sports bar or restaurant? Sound off below.

[Bonus]: Looks like USA Today is getting in on the Super Bowl, too, with perhaps the most interesting app of them all.  They’ll be using augmented reality to give you a tour of Jerry’s World, which players described as being like a museum with a football field in the middle.

And after the game, you’ll be able to point your phone at their game photos in the Monday morning edition of USA Today to see video highlights of those particular plays. Head over to their site for details.