7 Things You Didn't Know About "Friday Night Lights"

Are you a real Dillon Panther?

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, Kyle Chandler, 'Game Of The Week', (Season 3, episode 309, aired Dec. 3, 2008)
Photo: Bill Records / © NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

You know all the sayings—"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" and "Texas forever." Maybe you even have them engraved on a sign or printed on a shirt? No judgment. It's hard to watch the show without going all in. But we bet there are at least a few fun facts you may not know…check these out, and see just how much of a Dillon Panther you really are:

Just when you thought Coach Taylor couldn't be any more inspiring:

While filming the Friday Night Lights series, Kyle Chandler also worked as a volunteer firefighter. He also taped two local PSAs urging viewers to become volunteer firefighters. He told Jimmy Kimmel in 2016, "The people who do that, especially the kids who are involved, are really incredible people. When I was in there, I never failed to be amazed at the young people that deal with situations that are really incredible—whether car wrecks, fires, what have you."

Acting abilities? Check. Athletic abilities? Maybe…

According to IMDB, "Not all of the actors could play football. Gaius Charles, who played Brian "Smash" Williams, wasn't a very skilled football player. But Michael B. Jordan, who played Vince Howard, was known for having great quarterbacking skills. Taylor Kitsch had played hockey for 20 years before starring on the show, and was also a noted athlete."

Age is just a number.

Although they played teenagers, most actors were not still in their teens. In 2006, when the series debuted, Adrianne Palicki, who played Tyra, was 23. Zach Gilford, who plays Matt Saracen, was 24. Minka Kelly, aka Lyla Garrity, was 26, and Taylor Kitsch, who played Tim Riggins, was 25.

So you like "Friday Night Lights"…Have you heard of "Parenthood"? (We mean, of course!)

IMDB breaks down the shows' connections: "The show Parenthood featured several Friday Night Lights alumni. Matt Lauria, Michael B. Jordan, Minka Kelly, and Scott Porter. Porter was only seen in the series finale as the husband of Mae Whitman's character. Lauria was her fiancé earlier in the series. And both Porter and Lauria were in the finale scenes together."

Jason Street's character was inspired by real life.

A heartbreaking real-life story out of Texas: David Edwards was paralyzed in 2003 while playing as a junior defensive back at San Antonio Madison. He collided with an Austin Westlake wide receiver, and snapped the fourth vertebra in his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He passed away just over four years later, in 2008 at the age of 20.

Their hearts—on and off-screen—are in the right place.

Connie Britton (Tami Taylor) explained during an episode of Entertainment Weekly's Binge Podcast that she and Kyle Chandler decided they would never play an affair, stating: "We were like, 'We're never letting the writers have us have an affair. If they try to do it, we're not going to do it.' And we told them so." With so much else going on in that show, we don't think our hearts could've taken it anyway.

Some dedicated fans saved the show.

Hoping to save the show after its second season, fans started sending NBC envelopes of light bulbs to show the network just how much they wanted their show renewed. Whether it was the snail mail campaign or something else, NBC pulled through and the beloved show returned for several more seasons.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles