Updated October 4th, 2020.
Note: if you previously subscribed to an NFL schedule hosted at southendzone.com you are going to have to re-subscribe. For one thing, the website is now southendzone.net. For another, it all goes through Google Calendar now, so our old way of copying a link, and pasting it into the Mac’s Calendar app, is no longer an option. We all have to re-subscribe. It’s not hard; I just now did it myself. Out with the old, in with the new!
The 2020 NFL schedule is out, and it’s super-helpful to know who’s playing and when, so you can make plans. It’s even more useful to have that information displayed within the Calendar apps on your iPhone and iPad and Mac so you don’t have to cross-reference some website with the rest of your work and social life, which most likely is stored in your Calendar app.
In case you need it: here’s a link to the XFL Calendar. RIP.
You’d think you could get NFL calendars onto your iPhone and iPad and Mac by visiting nfl.com, but they don’t have downloadable or subscribe-able calendars there, so don’t bother looking.
It turns out that the best place to go for NFL calendars is the South End Zone website, where you’ll find FREE calendars for every team, and for the post-season, and for prime-time, and more. Before you go there, read on so you know how best to use the calendars when you do go there.
Want calendars for college football bowl games, NBA Playoffs, or March Madness NCAA basketball? Scroll to the end of this article. I take care of that personally, and I have you covered!
The beautiful thing about the South End Zone’s calendars is you can subscribe to them. “Subscribing” to a calendar doesn’t mean you give someone your email address and make an account etc. None of that happens. Instead, “subscribing” means you set things up ONCE and enjoy NFL schedules that update as games are played, year after year, without ever doing anything else (except for this year, which is a rare exception). Another beautiful thing: the times shown for the games are always in your local time zone! If you’re in California on a Monday Night, South End Zone’s calendar shows game time as 5:15 PM. If you’re in Texas that night, it shows the game time as 7:15 PM. It’s awesome.
Note: you can put the South End Zone’s calendars onto PCs and Android devices too.
The South End Zone calendars are updated after each game, so when a game goes final, you’ll see summary info like so (2019’s game shown here):
Need more reasons to subscribe? Well, keep in mind the possibility that the NFL season could be delayed. Subscribe to the calendars now, and if NFL has to postpone, the calendars on your devices will update. Also, think about “Flexible Scheduling,” which allows the Sunday Night game to be swapped out with another more interesting game. And, remember the natural disasters that prompt changes (remember the fires in San Diego that moved the Monday Night game to Arizona?). Finally, consider the playoffs, which can’t be in the calendar now, because we can’t know in advance who will be in the playoffs… but if you subscribe, all of these changes and updates will magically appear, without you doing anything in the future. AND… if you subscribe, you won’t have to do anything next year either! The games will simply show up in your Calendar app. And it’s free. So, subscribe!!!
I assume you’re convinced that you want to subscribe. Read on and I’ll explain how to do it.
How to add NFL Schedules to your Mac, iPhone and iPad
In years past, subscribing to a South End Zone calendar on the Mac and storing it in iCloud meant you could see that calendar on your iPhone and iPad also. Unfortunately, something about iOS puts a heavy load on the South End Zone server, and starting with the 2019 season, iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads are prevented from directly accessing South End Zone schedules. But, it turns out there’s an easy workaround. And, it turns out “the workaround” is required for the Mac as well.
The basic idea: you add the desired South End Zone calendar to your Google calendar, and then you add the calendar– via your Google account– to your Macs and iOS devices. It’s easier than it sounds and it works just fine. Here’s how to do it.
Note: you have to do this from a browser. You can’t do it from the Google Calendar app on your iPhone. At least I don’t think you can. If I’m wrong about that let me know.
1. Get the NFL calendars into your Google Calendar.
First, you’re going to need a Google account. You might have one already; if you have a gmail.com email address, that’s your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, go get one. It doesn’t cost anything and there will be plenty of other times that you’ll be glad you have it.
Make sure that your Mac and iPhone have this account in their System Preferences/Internet Accounts (Mac) and Settings/Passwords & Accounts (iOS ) and that the account has calendars turned on.
Now go to the South End Zone’s iCal calendar page, control-click (or right-click) on the calendar you want, and select Copy Link. Then go to calendar.google.com to bring up your Google calendars. Remember, do this in a browser.
On the left-hand side, look for “Other calendars” and then click the plus. You’re going to add a calendar “From URL.” This is important– you might think “Subscribe to calendar” is the right thing to do, but it isn’t.
Now paste the URL you copied into the box, and then click the blue “Add calendar” button. Here I’m adding the 49ers calendar.
Here I’m adding the Prime Time calendar.
Here’s how it looks after adding those two calendars. This is Google Calendar, in a browser, on my Mac.
So now you’ve added a calendar (or two) to your Google Calendar. If you use Google’s calendar app on your iPhone, and not the Apple Calendar app, you’re done. Open up the Google Calendar app on your iPhone or iPad and you’ll see the calendar you just added. If you want to use Apple’s Calendar app, you’re almost done. Keep reading. The subscribed calendars are not going to show up in your macOS Calendar nor your iPhone Calendar app without a little more work.
2. Get the calendars you added to Google Calendar into your macOS and iOS Calendar apps
It’s as easy as A, B, C!
AClick this link to go to your Google Calendar Sync page. When you get there, you’ll see something like this:
BCheck the boxes for the calendars you want to see on your Mac and iPhone and iPad. Then Save.
CGo to your Calendar app on your Mac, and Refresh (⌘-R). On your iPhone and iPad, tap Calendars button at the bottom of the screen, and pull down to refresh.
You can Control-click on a calendar on the Mac to bring up some colorizing options. On the iPhone or iPad, tap the Calendars button at the bottom of the Calendar screen, then tap the circled “i” and change a calendar’s color there, if you prefer. The colors will ripple through to your other devices so you only have to do this on one device.
South End Zone has calendars for every team, every division, the post season, etc. Here are some of my favorite ones (you can control-click these links and copy them– save yourself a little back-and-forth):
- All prime-time games (Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football)
- All NFL games (all teams)
- All post-season games
- All San Francisco 49ers games
- All Green Bay Packer games (for my friend Tom)
(Obviously the post-season schedule is unknown until the end of the season, but South End Zone updates its calendars as soon as there is new information, so when the time comes for playoffs, the post-season calendar will have the info you need.)
There are no better NFL calendars than the ones provided by South End Zone. They’re the calendars I use. Thanks to Scott Crevier of South End Zone for providing this service to pro football fans, for free.
Please leave a comment if you this article helped you. Or share it with your Facebook friends. That helps me too. Thank you.
Note: all of the above is for pro football, of course. But, if college football’s your thing, check out my article with links to calendars you can import into your Mac or iPhone, for every college football team, and for college football bowl games. If the NBA Playoffs are what you want, I made a calendar for that too. I also made one for March Madness. As far as I know, these are the only subscribable calendars for college football bowl games and the NBA Playoffs and March Madness that integrate with your iPhone and Mac calendar apps. And they’re free. So come and get ’em.
UPDATE 5-10-2020: I’ve just discovered ESPN’s hidden stash of calendars. It looks like this:
It’s really, really easy to add one of these to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Just click, click, click.
South End Zone’s NFL calendar is more informative and feels nicer. ESPN’s are trying to sell you something. Compare the details:
Sales-oriented or not, the ESPN calendar page has some interesting and useful stuff, and it’s a really nicely made site that’s very easy to use. You should check it out.