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Friday Night Lights Review S1E1

Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t Lose.

Due to the MWC postponing their season, we’ve been forced to think outside the box a bit in terms of our content. One of those things we will be bringing out is a weekly series discussing thoughts on arguably the best football TV show ever in Friday Night Lights. If you haven’t seen it, there is no better time to start. If you have seen it, there’s no better time to rewatch it. And if you’re like me, and watch an episode or season every year in preparation for college football, you’re right on track. Regardless of which category you fit into, it’s on Hulu, and you can follow along each week (on a Friday, of course) as a different episode from season one will be discussed, from the heartbreaking cliffhanger of the pilot to the final nail-biting game.

Random thoughts in live-tweet form.

  • Listening to the theme song, how can you not be inspired to go and do something great?
  • Not even a minute into the series, Eric Taylor is being criticized on the radio, even though he is coaching the preseason #1 team in Texas.
  • Jason Street is the best quarterback the Notre Dame assistant has ever seen: fact or recruiting lingo?
  • Smash is asked about racism in his interview. That’s called foreshadowing and will be circled back to in the last part of the season.
  • Tim Riggins doesn’t discriminate. He treats everyone the same. He is also a professional drinker but doesn’t think to hide the alcohol on his breath.
  • Coach Taylor’s circle of death punishment for Riggins would be outlawed so fast today if cameras were around like they are in this practice.
  • The opening practice does a good job setting up Jason’s quiet confidence and straight and narrow personality, Smash’s exuberant confidence in himself, and Riggin’s don’t care about the world attitude right away. Also, there’s Matt Saracen over by the garbage can. Does he get any reps? With an all-world QB, he probably does need any. What could go wrong there?
  • Correction: Matt holds extra points “sometimes.” He held two last year as a freshman. Also, why isn’t Matt playing on JV to get reps? Anyone can backup a D1 quarterback, and none of the juniors play quarterback?
  • Thus far, the show sets Jason and Tim, Jason and Smash, even Jason and Matt, and now Tyra and Lyla as total opposites.
  • Oh, Smash is rapping. Wonder why they didn’t go back to this ever.
  • This town LOVES their Dillon football. Even the mayor is giving Jason pointers. The boosters or whoever is rapid-fire questioning Coach Taylor makes it seem like they are trying to scare him.
  • The Dillon Panthers vs. Dillon Corsurs (peewee team) seems a little one-sided. Who scheduled this game???
  • Also, what is a corsur???
  • Seriously though, that seems like a cool start of the year tradition.
  • Jason getting the big theological questions thrown at him like, “Does God love football?”
  • Coach Taylor is still getting grilled on the radio. The town seems like they want him to fail. Was he a terrible offensive coordinator?
  • Is that Andy Reid as the coach of the other team?
  • Street goes down on the hit after his interception, and the show does a phenomenal job of letting us know how terrible this moment is.
  • Not to ruin the moment, but maybe this is a bad time to bring up that the backup Saracen got no on-camera reps this week in practice, other than the tire in his yard. Even the announcer says he likely hasn’t taken a snap in practice.
  • Who’s this third Panther captain? If it’s someone on the defense, maybe that should be reevaluated.
  • The way the show parallels Matt entering the game with Jason entering the operating room and the tension building in both.Well done.
  • Something to keep an eye on as the series progresses, Matt Saracen can take hit after hit.
  • Interesting note: Julie consoling Lyla, the two have likely never spoken before.
  • After a huge win, it’s followed moments later by a massive loss in learning Jason is paralyzed.

Coach Taylor’s speech.

  • As will become a theme, Taylor hits the nail on the head, talking about expectations. He expects to win. He expects them not to take this team lightly and to execute. He tells Jason he has earned the right to win. We will see how this all plays out.
  • Imagine if the Panthers had a good wide receiver corps.

Football observations.

  • Coach Taylor is studying his opponent, noticing they run a lot of counters. Be on the lookout for that during the game.
  • Smash Williams looks like a workhorse on his first carry.
  • Jason Street is throwing dimes all over the field.
  • The Panthers are not at all ready for these counter plays. This looks it will be a shootout.
  • At halftime: the defense is getting ripped to shreds by the coaches. Also, I don’t think most of these assistants make it to the second episode.
  • Jason is telling Taylor he sees a “real Texas defense,” whatever that means. But he does seem to have pretty good insight. Talks like a player who reads defenses well.
  • The other team looks like they made huge halftime adjustments on defense. The Panthers did not.
  • Matt takes a huge hit on his first snap after botching the play. His first throw goes off an OL helmet. Not ideal.
  • Coach Taylor keeping his cool and helping Matt to simplify and focus is a great move. “Throw the ball to our guys.”
  • A shovel pass on 3rd, and long is a gutsy call. Built some momentum. Riding Smash is also a good idea; to put the ball in your new star’s hands.
  • Coach Taylor busting out all the misdirection plays now with a drop back, fake pass into a statue of liberty to Smash.
  • Matt has a great arm. It looks like the other team sold out on the blitz and got burned as he eluded defenders to make a throw for the win.

Unanswered questions.

  • Where did the old head coach go, and why did he want to leave the #1 team in the state?
  • Coach Taylor coached Jason in peewee, freshman, and JV. But he was also the offensive coordinator?
  • Buddy Garity is opening up his dealership. What was he doing before that made him successful?

Plot holes.

  • Landry is driving, even though he is a freshman. He’s in the first four seasons. He’s smart, so not like he’s held back. How does this work?
  • Potential: How are Riggins and Street best friends? Although it’s not entirely out of the question, best friends usually aren’t two grades apart in high school.
  • Also, Lyla is a sophomore too. Jason is really close with the class two grades below him.

Quote of the episode.

“We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.” - Eric Taylor

Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t Lose. official counter: 1

Texas Forever official counter: 2