During the offseason, we are continuing our 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.
- The Panthers are flying high at their victory parade after their win, which sends them to state.
- Matt and Smash tell reporters they aren’t afraid of facing Voodoo Tatum.
- Lyla won’t talk to her dad. Tyra invites Landry to drive with her to the game and sit with her.
- Matt and Julie try to make emergency plans in case they have to do a long-distance relationship.
- Tami ditches the rally and gives Eric an excuse, but she’s really going to the doctor to take a pregnancy test. At first they can’t get her in, but then Corrina Williams (who is just awesome) says she can take her. In a great line, Corrina says “How pregnant do you want to be? Because you’re extremely pregnant.”
- Tami opens up that her and Eric tried for years to have another child but gave up hope. Now she gets that second child she had dreamed up, but the timing is tricky to say the least.
- Matt tries to get Landry to drive his grandma to the game. Landry doesn’t want to, as he tries to plan the perfect drive for her and Tyra.
- Tim gives Jackie and Bo his tickets to state so Bo can have a good time.
- Julie gives in and tells Eric that she told Matt he took the TMU job. Eric isn’t happy. Tami comes home and wants to share the news but Eric is trying to get out the door to take the bus to state. She decides not to tell him at the time.
- Tyra comes to get tickets from Tim and he lets her know he gave them away but gives her the 4 nosebleed tickets. She isn’t happy.
- Eric talks to Matt about his news. Matt says he doesn’t want to talk about it and would rather just focus on the game. He isn’t happy but trying to do the right thing.
- Landry goes to pick up Tyra but because she got 4 tickets, Tyra’s mom and sister are going. Landry is now a glorified chauffeur, loading the bags. On the way, they see Grandma Saracen at the bus station and pick her up to make it a car of 5.
- The team gets to the stadium and is in awe of the locker room, field, and entire stadium experience.
- In an interview, Smash says he’d take Matt over Voodoo any day of the week. Going back one of the first episodes, Smash didn’t like Matt at QB and told the coaches to help him work on his handoffs. He has now come to respect and trust Matt.
- Voodoo says he knows everything about Matt and that there isn’t much to him. Says his DL will squash him like a flea.
- Matt says he didn’t get to know Voodoo well since he only played one game for them.
- Jason Street says Voodoo is flashy but anyone can be. Matt has heart and he’s creative.
- During Eric’s interview, a reporter leaks out that he accepted the position at TMU. Eric tries to evade but to no avail. And the whole team heard it.
- Lyla shows up at the dealership to give Buddy his car back. She doesn’t want anything from him and bought a used car from another dealership... As luck would have it, the car breaks down on the way to the game.
- Landry’s car (who is having lots of fun, except for him) see Lyla and on the side of the road.
- Tyra doesn’t want to help Lyla and Lyla doesn’t want her help either. They air it out on the side of the road. They open up about their hurt and being cheated on and their tone changes with one another.
- Julie tries to get Tami to commit to letting her stay in Dillon and Tami loses her cool with her, as she is clearly stressed.
- It’s a quiet team dinner as no one wants to talk after hearing Eric’s news.
- Eric tells Buddy he took their job with the idea of a five-year commitment but he never heard the same kind of talk from the boosters. They discussed firing him after they lost the second game of the season. Instead of saying anything about that, Buddy simply tells him how much he’s going to miss Eric.
- Coach Taylor’s speech is met with an initial silence. Matt walks out and some applause breaks out. The fans/boosters accept it but the players don’t seem to.
- Tim thinks Coach Taylor leaving is pathetic, others feel like the “all for one” speeches are now hallowed. Jason tells them to stop being babies and that any of them would make the same decision. Smash said he earned it and it’s up to them now.
- Voodoo shows up and asks to talk to Smash. He tells Smash he’s the best back in Texas and tells him to transfer to his school next year. Together they will be a dynamic team and Smash’s recruiting will explode. Voodoo says the school will set him up nice and brags how he has a house with a pool and dishwasher, that he will be taken care of.
- Smash tells Voodoo he’s a Panther but Voodoo says it’s just a uniform and his coach isn’t even sticking around so why should Smash? Smash walks away.
- Matt and Julie air their grievances. Matt feels betrayed and Julie tells him how much he cares about that team and that Matt and the other players are all he talks about.
- Matt comes to talk to Coach Taylor after bed check. Coach Taylor says he knows Matt is pissed and he’s sorry that he’s leaving and taking Julie but if Matt ever has a family, he will understand. Matt’s only response is “see you at the game.”
- Tami goes to talk with Eric and reminds him that he’s a good man. Tami tells him she’s pregnant and he of course doesn’t believe her at first. Then he’s so happy.
- Everyone is jubilant for the victory. Smash and Riggins, two guys who didn’t like each other at the start of the season, embrace.
- Jason and Coach Taylor congratulate each other. They achieved their goal together but it could not have looked more different than they intended.
- Jason’s dad celebrates his son, as a coach, not a player.
- Voodoo is in disbelief.
- Coach Taylor couldn’t be more proud of Matt and Matt is so thankful for his coach.
- At the hotel, Lyla throws her cheerleading stuff in the trash. Lyla and Tyra ride home together to hang out.
- Eric is having second thoughts about taking the job now that a new baby is on the way. He wants to stay and Tami tells him no, he needs to follow his dream. Tami tells him she doen’t want her or their baby to keep him from missing out on his dreams. She knows it will be hard but she knows their relationship will allow them to get through it.
- The team has a championship parade. The town loves celebrating and the players do too. All the players lock eyes with their current/former/hopeful lovers.
- The radion announcer, who was critical of Coach Taylor during the low points of the year, is now singing his praises, saying he healed this town and this team. But then questions how Coach Taylor could walk away from all of this. Fans from the town question Eric’s heart.
- Jason is already coaching the team for next year, saying now every team will be targeting them and that the standard is another championship and defending that championship starts now in the off-season.
- Coach Taylor walks into the room and the team erupts into applause, led by Matt.
Coach Taylor’s speeches.
- “Tomorrow every seat in this stadium is going to be filled up. This is what we’ve been waiting for, this is what we’ve worked so hard for. Does it get better than this? Aw hell, I don’t think it does. Soak it in. Stay inside yourselves. We can beat these guys.
- “I’m gonna cut through the crap. I believe I know what all of you are thinking right now. Coach is a bastard for taking this job. I would say to that you all have dreams. Dreams of playing college ball, pro ball. There’s nothing more important to me than to help you achieve those dreams, I promise you that. I have dreams too. This has long been a dream of mine to coach at a division 1 school like TMU. Whatever it is you’re feeling, I don’t blame you. It’s all pretty raw. You may not accept it now. But I pray one day you will. I don’t like the press, I never have. It should have been done different. I apologize it wasn’t.”
- At halftime, Coach Taylor initially appears at a loss for words, as do his players. Then he finds his message:
- “When Jason Street went down the first game of the season, everybody wrote us off. Everybody. And yet here we are in the championship game. 40,000 people have also written us off. And there are a few out there who do still believe in you, a few who will never give up on you. You go back out on the field, those are the people I want in your minds. Those are the people I want in your hearts. Every man at some point in his life is going to lose a battle. He’s gonna fight and he’s gonna lose. But what makes him a man is in the midst of that battle, he does not lose himself. This game is not over. This battle is not over. So let’s hear it one more time, together... Clear eyes, full hearts... Can’t lose! Let’s go!”
- The teams take the field and it is time for the title game. Coach Taylor wants them to get off to a fast start, but they don’t as Matt struggles to get rid of the ball and evade pressure.
- Meanwhile, Voodoo scores easily as a runner and passer for a quick 14-0 lead.
- Matt is focused too much on matching Voodoo rather than playing his game. He throws a pick and Dillon goes down 26-0 at half. The team and fans are defeated, as the weight of Coach Taylor leaving is seemingly too much.
- Riggins opens the second half with a big run to get the momentum going. The next play, Saracen hits Smash on a quick screen and Smash scores. The Panthers have life.
- The Panthers defense starts rattling Voodoo and scoops up a fumble. Voodoo is pissed.
- Jason tells Matt he needs to take control of this game. Matt hits Smash on a beautiful TD pass between two defenders. However, Smash hurt his shoulder on the fall. He gets it’s dislocated and the trainers pop it back into place but advise him not to keep playing. He clearly doesn’t listen.
- Smash gets back out on the field and is dominating the field.
- With 57 yards to go, Matt is displaying the subtle confidence he has sometimes when he’s in a groove. He commands the offense, telling them they are taking a deep shot now that they are keying in on the run. Instead, it’s a blitz and he’s tackled by 4 players.
- The Panthers take a TO with 6 seconds left. Coach Taylor opts against a Hail Mary, since they will prepare for that.
- Matt tells Coach Taylor he has the play. He calls for a Hook-and-Ladder and says it will work. Coach Taylor looks him in the eye and says go run it.
- With the game and the championship on the line, Matt executes the play perfectly, hitting Riggins in stride over the middle of the field. Riggins takes the hit as he pitches back to Smash behind him going to the other side wide open. Smash breaks a tackle and drags two defenders into the endzone to win the championship.
- Dillon may have gotten away with a hold on the Hook-and-Ladder play. Watch the left guard.
Quote of the episode.
“Every man at some point in his life is going to lose a battle. He’s gonna fight and he’s gonna lose. But what makes him a man is in the midst of that battle, he does not lose himself.”
Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t Lose. official counter: 18
Texas Forever official counter: 7
Riggins quitting the team official counter: 1
Coach Taylor calling Landry ‘Lance’ official counter: 2
Jason’s job aspirations:
quad-rugby player, football coach