Beloved series Friday Night Lights ????was an instant fan favorite as soon as it premiered on NBC back in 2008. Peter Berg took the story from his 2004 film of the same name, which starred Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw, and adapted it into a TV series so fans could tune in and watch the Dillon Panthers week after week. Still considered a cult classic over a decade after its premiere, the sweet series gave the world an inside look at the magic of football in a small town and how special a community can be.
The show centered around Coach Eric Taylor as he led the Dillon High football team to victory. The high school in the small Texas town is full of drama because, as everyone in the Lone Star State knows...football is life. As Coach Taylor would say, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Taylor moves his family into town for the new gig at the beginning of the series and not only helps coach his players but has a personal impact on their personal lives as they grow from boys into men over the course of the show. It proves that they really is so much more to football than just tossing a ball and wearing a uniform.
Since the series was incredibly popular, it's understandable that it helped launch the careers of nearly every major cast member. Some have gone on to appear in Oscar-winning films, others have built up seriously impressive resumes starring on various TV shows. We even have one former FNL star who's currently a Hallmark leading lady. Here's what all of the Friday Night Lights cast members have been up to since the final season aired in 2011.
Tami Taylor was the coach's wife and the guidance counselor (and eventually principal) at the local high school. Tami was the ultimate glue that held her family together, even amid all of the chaos, and easily one of the most popular characters on the show.
After her days as Tami, Britton immediately starred in the first season of American Horror Story: Murder House, followed by a starring role as fictional country singer Rayna James in the musical drama Nashville. Recently she played Debra Newell in the TV adaptation of the podcast and real story, Dirty John.
It's safe to say that Eric Taylor was the heart of the entire show. Though sometimes he was tough, he saw potential in players before they saw it in themselves. He was a man that all of the high schoolers looked up to during and after their Dillon days.
After the show wrapped, Chandler starred in the Netflix series Bloodline and the Hulu show Catch 22. He's also appeared in numerous films, including Super 8, Zero Dark Thirty, The Wolf of Wall Street and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Ah, Tim Riggins. The guy from the other side of the tracks who's incredibly handsome, talented, and has a knack for getting himself into trouble. Riggins was easily one of the fan-favorite characters in the show that you'd continue rooting for even when he really messed up.
Kitsch has gone on to have a solid career as well. He starred in the second season of HBO's True Detective and played the role of David Koresh in the miniseries Waco. He also starred as the lead character in the Disney film John Carter.
Tyra Collette is the resident bad girl in Dillon at the beginning of the series, but after she finds a support system in Tami, she cleans up her act and ends up getting into a great college.
Following her Tyra days, Palicki has had an incredible TV career. She appeared as a badass agent in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and has a leading role in the series The Orville.
The coach's teenage daughter, Julie Taylor, gets herself into a pickle with her father when she starts dating the quarterback on the team. Throughout the series, Julie deals with teen rebellion and drama with her relationship with Matt Saracen but always loves her family, despite all of the attention her dad needs to give to the football team.
Following the show, Teegarden starred in the CW series Star-Crossed and appeared on numerous other shows, including The Ranch and Robot Chicken. She's also become a Hallmark star in recent years and can be seen in many of their popular annual Christmas movies.
Sweet and nerdy Landry Clarke is the best friend of the Panthers quarterback, Matt Saracen. He's in love with Tyra, and they even date for part of the show. Though Landry eventually makes the football team, he also has a band that he is passionate about making him one of the most interesting and quirky characters in Dillon.
Plemons went on to appear on Breaking Bad before appearing in the TV adaptation of Fargo, which earned him an Emmy nomination. He has two children with his real-life love and former Fargo co-star, Kirsten Dunst.
Matt Saracen is the shy sophomore who unexpectedly becomes the team's quarterback. His relationship with Julie is incredibly sweet, but Matt has a lot on his plate as the head of the house and guardian of his grandmother.
Following the show, Gilford had a main role in Off the Map, The Mob Doctor, The Family, and most recently L.A.'s Finest. He also has a recurring role in the series Good Girls.
The Panther's quarterback Jason Street is the big man on campus before he gets paralyzed during the first game of his senior year. His storyline throughout the show is compelling as you watch Jason find love and eventually pursue a career as a sports agent.
Porter went on to star in the CW series Hart of Dixie, and appeared on Scorpion, The Good Wife, Why Women Kill and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Lyla Garrity was the lovely cheerleader who finds herself in a love triangle with Jason Street and his best friend, Tim Riggins. She deals with cheating on her boyfriend, her parents' difficult divorce, and ultimately choosing to leave Dillon behind.
Kelly went on to appear in a recurring role on Parenthood and had starring roles in Charlie's Angels and Almost Human.
Tim's older brother, Billy Riggins, was a former Panther football star. He ends up as Tim's legal guardian and is also married to Tyra's sister, Mindy. Though he has a rough road throughout the series, he ends up becoming a coach in the end.
Phillips went on to appear on Grimm, The Mentalist, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Longmire and Rosewood.
The Panthers running back, Brian "Smash" Williams, is focused on getting in front of college scouts to help support his struggling family. Though he ends up getting injured, Coach Taylor helps him with rehab, and he ends up as a success story on a college team.
Charles went on to have a recurring role on Grey's Anatomy and appeared on numerous other shows including Blindspot, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Taken.
Michael B. Jordan
Starting in Season 4, Vince Howard joins the cast as a teenage delinquent who is given the choice of going to juvenile detention or playing on the East Dillon football team. Though he's never played football before, he becomes a talented quarterback under Coach Taylor.
Jordan has gone on to become a major movie star. He's appeared in numerous films, including Black Panther, Creed, That Awkward Moment and Just Mercy.
Luke Cafferty is another new character in season 4. Though he is initially Riggins' replacement on the Dillon team, it's discovered that he is actually in the East Dillon district and needs to move schools. Luke spends his time during the last two seasons debating his future, ultimately deciding to join the army.
Lauria has since appeared on Parenthood, Kingdom, The Chicago Code and most recently is a series regular on Tell Me A Story.
One more main character to join the cast in season 4, Jess Merriweather, is the daughter of an East Dillon state-championship-winning quarterback. She ends up dating Vince and has dreams of becoming a football coach, which is supported by Coach Taylor.
Smollett went on to appear in True Blood, Parenthood, Underground and The Defenders. She also starred in the 2019 film Birds of Prey.
Who could forget the charismatic Buddy Garrity, the father of Lyla. He's the charming and energetic owner of the local Chevy dealership and a big deal within the Dillon booster club. Though he sometimes makes things difficult for everyone, Buddy loves Dillon, football and his children more than anything.
Leland went on to appear in The Leftovers, Veep, Last Man Standing, Angie Tribeca and more.
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