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     The Taylors 

Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler)

The head coach of the Dillon Panthers in seasons 1-3, and the East Dillon Lions in 4-5. Happily Married to Tami Taylor, and father to Julie and Gracie Belle.

  • A Father to His Men: Especially Matt and Vince.
  • 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 terrifyingly intimidating without crossing any moral lines. (Again, he is the show's moral center)
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": More often than not, he will be referred to as Coach and not Eric
  • Nice Guy: There's a reason everyone in town wants him to be their confidant.
  • Nice Hat
  • Papa Wolf: To his daughters and his team.
    • 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.
  • Parental Substitute: Most notably to Matt.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • 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.

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.

     Dillon High School/The Dillon Panthers 

Jason Street (Scott Porter)

Former star quarterback of the Dillon Panthers. Suffers a severe spinal injury in the pilot episode that leaves him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

  • The Ace
  • 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.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first episode builds him up as the most prominent of the football players in the main cast, then his injury happens, leading to Matt taking his place. He does remain a major character, however.
  • The Determinator
  • Happily Married: Finally finds happiness and settles down during his final arc)
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After his accident, although difficult to blame him, especially in light of Tim and Lyla's betrayal (though they eventually resume their friendships).
  • Joisey: Moves there when he becomes a sports agent (his job is in the Big Applesauce though).
  • Out of Focus: He was initially a main character but left towards the end of season three to work in New York.
  • Papa Wolf: There really isn't anything he won't do for his son.
  • Put on a Bus
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He can a real jerk to Tim (Not without cause) but They do really care about each other.

Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly)

Cheerleader and girlfriend of Jason Street when the series starts. Comes from a Mc Mansion family barely holding together at the seams.

Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch)

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: He is rarely ever short lady attention regardless of there age.
  • 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
  • The Casanova: Tim can have his pick of the ladies.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the most sarcastic character in the series.
  • Disappeared Dad
  • Hard Drinking Party Guy: You could probably take a shot everytime Tim isn't in the middle of drinking a beer and finish the series without even feeling tipsy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Went to jail to protect his brother who had just become a father.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jason.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be be a real jerk at times but has a very sweet and warm heart underneath. Most notably when he starts acting as a mentor to younger players like J.D. or consoles his friends like Matt or Becky.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome
  • Troubled, but Cute: He is a brooding loner with a ton of issues and has a drinking problem but has a good heart and still handsome.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: * Tim has a reputation as a notorious and prolific womanizer. Even the adults seem aware, with parents cringing at the thought of Riggins taking an interest in their daughters. In contrast to his reputation, throughout the series, we see him engaged in long-term, albeit extremely tumultuous, relationships with just three women (Lyla, Tyra, and Jackie) and he is genuinely distraught when each woman breaks up with him. While we see him flirt with rally girls, the only actual one-night stand we see him engage in is with Cheryl Sproles who makes it clear that she would welcome a repeat performance, but the age difference (she is over ten years Tim's senior) and her neediness make Tim uncomfortable and he refuses. He also serves as a protective older brother figure to some of the younger female characters such as Becky and Julie. He refuses their blatant advances, tries to redirect their interests to more age-appropriate companions, and generally tries to keep them out of trouble recognizing some of the bad intentions of the guys they encounter.
    • It should also be pointed out that people often claim that Tim has slept with half of the girls (and women) in Dillon, but because of the odd way time passes on the show, for the majority of the show he is between 15-17 years old. So either there is a lot of exaggeration or a large number of older girls and older women ignored the age of consent.
      • This is actually the case with Jackie who is portrayed to be in her early to mid-30s while Tim is 16. The show does not explicitly treat this as an unsavory pedophilic relationship, but Jackie eventually has a meltdown over the idea of anyone discovering that she has slept with a minor and ends the relationship. Tim is shown to be enamored with Jackie and enjoys both the physical and emotional nature of their affair. However, an objective and discerning viewer can see that Tim lacks the emotional maturity to be in such a relationship which is a big reason why he lashes out so intensely when Jackie refuses to see him anymore and begins dating his older brother. It is also worth nothing that Tim got along just as well with Jackie's six-year-old son, Bo, who he's closer in age to than Jackie herself.
  • 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.
  • Cool Big Sis: Plays this trope to Julie in Season 1.
  • Disappeared Dad
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Landry after Their breakup.
  • Poisonous Friend: At first to Julie, inadvertently getting her arrested even.
  • She's Got Legs: And everyone knows, including Tami, who takes advantage of Tyra's height to boost up the floundering girls volleyball team.

Brian "Smash" Williams (Gaius Charles)

  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Disappeared Dad
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Under his cocky exterior, he does care about his family, friends, and teammates.
  • 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. Subverted when his mother finds out, and reports him. She makes it clear that she doesn't want out of poverty if they can't get their legally.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: When someone calls him "Brian", its a sign of something important.
  • Put on a Bus: Thanks to Gaius Charles wanting to quit acting to become a minister, though he's since returned to it.
  • Small Name, Big Ego / Insufferable Genius: Had his moments but Coach Taylor was always quick to bring him back down to earth.
  • Third-Person Person

Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford)

  • Adorkable
  • Always Someone Better: J.D. McCoy. Though Matt is later called upon to fix J.D.'s mistakes, implying that Matt really was the better player all along.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something terrible is going to happen, there's a good chance it will be to Matt.
  • Closet Geek
  • The Determinator
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Landry
  • Honor Before Reason
  • Iron Woobie
  • Missing Mom: She comes back in season three and tries to make amends.
  • Nice Guy
  • 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.
  • Those Two Guys: With Landry
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He's never been shy about making fun of Landry though he obviously cares about him a lot.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Lacks the raw physical talent of a J.D. McCoy or Voodoo Tatum, but is a shrewd tactician who knows every play and route in the book.
  • When He Smiles: He has a pretty sweet nerdy grin that comes out on the few occasions he's happy. Its always nice to see.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: It mostly comes from being forced to look after his ill grandmother at only sixteen.

Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons)

J.D. McCoy (Jeremy Sumpter)


     East Dillon High School/The East Dillon Lions 

Vince Howard (Michael B. Jordan)

  • Broken Ace: He's an excellent football player, but his father went to prison and his mother is depressed and addicted to heroin.
  • Promotion to Parent: Due to his mother's aforementioned heroin problem, Vince is responsible for holding down a job to keep food on the table.

Luke Cafferty (Matt Lauria)

  • Determinator: In season four, to a degree that's almost painful to watch.
  • Nice Guy: Was fully prepared to help Becky raise their baby, before she had an abortion.

Dallas Tinker (LaMarcus Tinker)

  • Big Fun
  • The Danza: Same last name as his character.
  • Nice Guy: He is the only member of the team who shows up to help Luke and his dad build a fence, and he does it just because Luke looks tired at school.

Jess Merriweather (Jurnee Smollett)

Becky Sproles (Madison Burgess)

Buddy Garrity, Jr. (Jeff Rosick and Joey Trutty)

  • 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.

Hastings Ruckle (Grey Damon)

     Family and Friends 

Lorraine Saracen (Louanne Stephens)

Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland)

Joe McCoy (D.W. Moffett)

Mindy Collette Riggins (Stacey Oristano)

  • Ascended Extra: Began Season 1 as little more than a background character for the guys to ogle at and Tara to be pissed at, but beginning with her engagement to Billy she began to have more involved role and a significant one in season 5.
  • Parental Substitute: Becomes this for Becky when her mother leaves and she is stuck living with her step-mom while her father on the road.


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