EDIT: The Dolphins at Bengals Thursday Night Football game is not a CBS game as the original version of this article stated. It is only available on NFL Network, which means it will not be on the Twitter stream schedule.
This year, Thursday Night Football contests on CBS or NBC will also feature a new way to watch the game. This year, the NFL will simulcast Thursday night games from CBS or NBC on a live stream on Twitter.
To answer your first question, no, you do not need to have a Twitter account to watch the live stream. It will be available on an event-specific Twitter.com page that anybody can access on a browser or on their phone. If you want to see how it will work, Twitter is currently live-streaming Day 9 of Wimbledon. If you go to that link, you’ll see the following screen:
This could, and should, be the next step toward the NFL streaming all their games on the internet. Could it be a pay service? Most likely, but after last year’s experiment of the International Series game from London appearing on Yahoo Sports, and now this year’s package on Twitter, the league seems to finally be realizing there is a audience to be tapped online. Ad revenue could still be generated, on top of a pay service for the games (like MLB.TV uses now and how NFL GamePass is available to the international market), and the game could be introduced to more people, especially as some move away from traditional television services and start relying more on the internet.
Whatever the future holds for the NFL and online streaming, we could be getting a look at what the Twitter stream for CBS/NBC TNF games will look like this upcoming season.
(H/T: Niners Nation)