Beware the Nice Ones: Coach—along with his wife Tami—is probably the nicest person on the show and serves as the town's moral touchstone on many occasions. That being said, if you EVER hurt his wife, his daughters OR his players, Coach will make you sincerely sorry (often without actually speaking), and even the toughest man will find himself apologizing profusely by the time he's done talking to him. The best part? When he's angry, he manages to be terrifiyingly intimidating without crossing any moral lines. (Again, he is the show's moral center)
Even more terrifying, when Julie comes home from college and confesses to having an affair with her married TA, and said TA shows up at the Taylors' house, Coach silently strides out and physically chases him back into his car and actually smashes the taillight as the car pulls away. Doubles as a HUGE instance of Beware the Nice Ones.
Verbal Tic: Calls his players "Son" very often, showing that he thinks of Them as family.
Tami Taylor (Connie Britton)
The coach's wife who is not content to be just the coach's wife in a town crazy about football. Guidance counselor and then principal at West Dillon High, and mother of Julie and Gracie Belle. Eminently quotable.
Silent Snarker: In the pilot episode, the scene where the gossipy wives invite Tami to join them for a book club meeting and act in a way that can only be described as transparently "fake nice," Tami's facial expression says it all, before she replies "Uh-huh, yeah! Sure."
Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden)
The teenage daughter of the Taylors. Starts out as a freshman in high school; is through her freshman year of college when the series ends.
Back for the Finale: Scott Porter came back to film an alternate scene for the ending montage. It wasn't used in the show nor is it on the DVDs, but a screenshot of it can be found on the Season 5 set.
Brainy Brunette: She's smart enough to get into Vanderbilt; however, she first says she's going to follow Jason to Notre Dame in Season 1 and then, after Jason follow Tim to San Antonio State at the end of 3. She doesn't do either.
Brilliant but Lazy: He's an excellent player and a pretty good student but has very little ability to apply himself to anything. He ends up quitting college after getting halfway through the first period of his first class
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be be a real jerk at times but has a very sweet and warm exterior underneath. Most notably when he starts acting as a mentor to younger players like J.D. or consoles his friends like Matt or Becky.
Vitriolic Best Buds: With Jason and his brother Billy. Most of his friendships qualify due to his sarcastic nature.
Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki)
Broken Bird: Seems well on her way to becoming this when we first meet her, even more so after we meet her mother, who is a full-fledged, pill-popping Broken Bird in a string of abusive relationships who doesn't want her daughter to go to college. Ultimately averts it; gets out of Dillon and goes to UT.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Came back from a confidence-shattering injury to end up earning a spot with Texas A&M. As of the end of the series, he is the only Panther or Lion to have successfully transitioned to college football.
Justified Criminal: When he starts taking steroids in season one, he is only doing so to improve his chances of going to college and getting his family out of poverty.
Disappeared Dad: His dad joined the Army and Matt believes he was a much better soldier than he was a parent. He even goes so far as to encourage his dad to go back to Iraq after he suggests his grandmother go to a nursing home.
Parental Substitute: Sadly, due to his grandmother's dementia and his father's absence, Matt is Grandma Saracen's primary caregiver, which is a lot for a teenager to handle. Nevertheless, Matt clearly loves her and would do anything for her, and despite his difficulties dealing with this role he manages to ensure that she's well cared for throughout the series.
Coach Taylor becomes this for Matt himself. Given Matt's father's years of absence and emotional detachment, it's desperately needed.
Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Matt's the Sensitive Guy to Riggins's Manly Man (actually, he's also the Sensitive Guy compared to Smash and a lot of the other players on the team too). But Matt is also the Manly Man to Landry's Sensitive Guy.
Ascended Extra: Was a bit character in the first couple seasons, who we barely saw and merely served as a plot device, along with all the other Garrity kids other than Lyla. He returns All Grown Up! in the final season after spending the last few years in California and joins the team.
I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Buddy's mom's new boyfriend, a soccer-loving vegetarian Hipster, trains Buddy Jr. to hate football, even though he'd previously loved it as a kid (and part of it may have been Buddy Jr. seeking a way to lash out against Buddy Sr. for being a terrible father and husband) and he repeatedly insists that American football is a "barbaric" game upon his return from San Francisco. But after he returns to Dillon, Buddy Sr. helps Jr. regain his love of the game.
New-Age Retro Hippie: He and the other Garrity kids start becoming this way after living with their mom's new boyfriend in San Francisco, who is very much a hipster. Buddy Senior makes it his mission to deprogram them from this, and actually succeeds.