Here are tips on how you can watch football today (despite Irma)

Carrie Underwood probably would be a welcome sight on your TV tonight. (NBC)

For South Florida fans wishing for some football as a diversion from Irma and a cure for cabin fever, here’s help.

Most of the major stations in the area have gone to 24-hour coverage of the hurricane, and some have already said they’re not going to interrupt it for coverage of today’s NFL games — but you can still watch football with the right connections.

Although it’s not widely known, major stations throughout South Florida have substations that carry additional programming — usually syndicated shows, but especially helpful on days like this. Examples: Channel 12 in West Palm Beach actually is digital channel 12.1, and fellow CBS affiliate Channel 4 in Miami is digital 4.1. But they have sister stations: Channels 12.2 and 4.2, respectively.

Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth of the Sunday Night Football crew. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

And if you can pick up those sister stations, you may be able to watch football today.

Some cable and satellite systems carry those substations, but many do not. But there’s a good chance you can pick them up the old-fashioned way — over the air.

If you have a digital antenna, either indoor or outdoor, you should have no problem.

If you don’t, you still stand a chance by rigging one up.

One of my TVs has a coaxial cable of several feet leading to nowhere. That cable acts like a digital antenna and, depending on where it’s pointed, can pick up many stations. Give yours a try and you may be surprised. Just make sure that cable is disconnected from your cable box, because otherwise it will just be feeding a regular cable or satellite signal to your TV.

Next, switch your TV input from cable or satellite to “TV” or its equivalent. Often, your TV will automatically do that when you try to change the channel on the TV itself rather than on your receiver box. If you haven’t already done so, you may have to instruct your TV to scan for available channels, which will take a few minutes. But then you’ll see channels you may have never known existed: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, etc.

That’s your potential audible for football-watching today, assuming stations in your area farm out NFL games this way. The NBC affiliate in Dade and Broward, Channel 6, already has announced it will carry Sunday Night Football (Giants at Cowboys) on its substation, Cozi-TV, Channel 6.2.

Channels 4 and 12 are scheduled to carry Jets-Bills at 1 p.m. Channels 7 and 29 have Falcons-Bears at 1 and Seahawks-Packers at 4. The work-around outlined above may help you receive those games. Just try scanning channels you receive. Many college games were available via this route Saturday.

You also may have luck via streaming options, depending on your subscriptions.

We all can use a break from Irma, so good luck.

A listing of some of the stations and substations available over the air in South Florida. One of them may be your ticket to watching NFL games today.

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