Friday Night Lights (season 3)

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Friday Night Lights (season 3)
FNL S3 DVD.jpg
Season 3 DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Original network The 101 Network (first run)
NBC (network)
Original release October 1, 2008 (2008-10-01) – January 14, 2009 (2009-01-14)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of Friday Night Lights episodes

The third season of the American serial drama television series Friday Night Lights began airing in the United States and Canada on October 1, 2008. It was the first season to be aired on DirecTV's The 101 Network. The 13-episode season concluded on The 101 Network on January 14, 2009 and then began its run on NBC two nights later, on January 16, 2009, and concluded its NBC run on April 10, 2009. The show was renewed for two more seasons in March 2009, with both seasons airing in the same format as season 3, containing 13 episodes each.[1] The third season was released on DVD in region 1 on May 19, 2009.[2]

The season continues to focus around the Dillon Panthers and the pressures faced on and off the field. This season also has four main characters leave the show by season's end.


Unlike the previous two seasons, only eight of ten major roles received star billing in the opening credits: Kyle Chandler portrayed Eric Taylor, head coach of the Dillon Panthers. Connie Britton played Tami Taylor, wife of Eric and new principal of Dillon High School; Zach Gilford played quarterback Matt Saracen. Minka Kelly played Lyla Garrity, now girlfriend of Tim Riggins, fullback and resident bad boy, portrayed by Taylor Kitsch. Adrianne Palicki played Tyra Collette. Jesse Plemons played Landry Clarke, Tyra's not-quite boyfriend and Saracen's best friend. Aimee Teegarden played Julie Taylor, Eric and Tami's daughter.

Supporting characters include: Brad Leland as Buddy Garrity, Lyla's father and head of the Dillon Panthers Booster Club; Derek Phillips as Billy Riggins, Tim's brother; Louanne Stephens as Lorraine Saracen, Matt Saracen's grandmother; Liz Mikel as Corrina Williams, Smash's mother; Dana Wheeler-Nicholson as Angela Collette, Tyra's mother; Stacey Oristano as Mindy Collette, Tyra's sister and Billy Riggins' fianceé; and Kevin Rankin as Herc.

Gaius Charles and Scott Porter were billed as guest stars during their 4-episode run as Brian "Smash" Williams, who left for college, and Jason Street, who left to become a sports agent in New York, so he could be near his baby, Noah, and Noah's mother.

The new characters first introduced this season include: The McCoy Family (D.W. Moffett as father Joe, Janine Turner as mother Katie, and Jeremy Sumpter as son J.D., a quarterback for the Panthers) and Shelby Garrett (Kim Dickens), Matt Saracen's estranged mother.

Season synopsis[edit]

The season begins with Coach Taylor's having failed to lead the Panthers to another State championship the year before, creating new pressure for him. Quarterback Matt Saracen's position is threatened by the arrival of freshman J.D. McCoy, an amazing natural talent who comes from a rich family with an overbearing father, Joe. Matt eventually moves to wide receiver after Taylor names J.D McCoy the starting quarterback, but Matt is pushed back into his former role in the playoffs. Matt and Julie Taylor reconcile, and rekindle their romance.

Smash Williams, who had injured his knee during the previous year's playoffs, rediscovers his love for the game, gets a tryout with a college, and succeeds in winning a spot on their team.

Tyra Collette starts dating a cowboy named Cash, leading to complications in her relationship with Landry and her academics. Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity start dating, and Tim pursues a college football scholarship. Billy Riggins gets engaged to Tyra's older sister Mindy Collette. He, Tim, Herc, and Jason Street decide to flip Buddy Garrity's house for a profit. Jason eventually finds a job at a sports agency in New York City and moves to the northeast, to be close to his girlfriend and newborn baby. Tami Taylor becomes the principal of cash-strapped Dillon High School and fights with Buddy Garrity about the allocation of funds toward a Jumbotron.

While Eric Taylor and Buddy Garrity are visiting a possible recruit who just moved into town, the coach learns of a plot to have him replaced as head coach of the Dillon Panthers; Joe McCoy wants Taylor replaced with Wade Aikman, J.D.'s personal coach. After the school board meets to decide who gets the coaching job, Aikman is offered the job at Dillon High School, while Taylor is offered the job of coaching the Lions of East Dillon High, which is reopening after years of being closed.


With the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike cutting the second season in half,[3] there is a longer story gap between the end of season 2 and the beginning of season 3 than occurred between the other seasons of Friday Night Lights. Some plots are quickly summarized, while others are never again mentioned in season 3. One example of the latter is Santiago, the street kid Buddy Garrity took in, who in season 3 is evidently no longer living there and is not seen or mentioned again. Another is Lyla's relationship with Chris and her devout Christianity. Lyla is now living with her father and in a relationship with Tim Riggins. Landry and Tyra have dated and are now broken up. Smash Williams was seriously injured in a playoff game the preceding season and, consequently, has lost his college football scholarship; he is now a manager at the Alamo Freeze fast food restaurant. Playing without him, the Dillon football team fell apart and failed to win the state championship. Jason Street was last seen in season 2 trying to convince Erin, a waitress with whom he had had a one-night stand, not to get an abortion; in season 3 we see that Erin has had the child, but the couple is not living together. Tami Taylor is now the Dillon High School principal.

Fictional game results[edit]

Fictional game results
Opponent Result Score Record Episode # Episode
Regular season[a]
South Pines Tigers Win 44–13 1–0 1 "I Knew You When"
Laribee Lions Win 49–6 2–0 2 "Tami Knows Best"
Arnett Mead Tigers Loss 17–21 2–1 3 "How the Other Half Lives"
McNulty Mavericks Win 42–39 3–1 5 "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
Westerby Chaps Win 31–17 4–1 6 "It Ain't Easy Being J.D. McCoy"
Fort Hood Cougars Win 15–14 5–1 7 "Keeping Up Appearances"
Regional playoffs[b]
Arnett Mead Tigers Win 10–7 6–1 9 "Game of the Week"
State quarter-finals
Buckley Bisons Win 16–13 7–1 10 "The Giving Tree"
State semi-finals
West Cambria Mustangs Win 15–14 8–1 11 "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"
State championship
South Texas Titans Loss 28–30 8–2 12 "Underdogs"
a While Friday Night Lights is presented as a serialized show with seemingly no gaps between episodes, public high schools in Texas typically play a ten game regular season.
b While the playoff bracket only consisted of one regional playoff game, two games are played before moving on to the quarter-finals (as seen during the first season).


No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
38 1 "I Knew You When" Jeffrey Reiner Jason Katims October 1, 2008 (2008-10-01) (DirectTV)
January 16, 2009 (2009-01-16) (NBC)
39 2 "Tami Knows Best" Jeffrey Reiner Elizabeth Heldens October 8, 2008 (2008-10-08) (DirectTV)
January 23, 2009 (2009-01-23) (NBC)
40 3 "How the Other Half Lives" Dean White Patrick Massett & John Zinman October 15, 2008 (2008-10-15) (DirectTV)
January 30, 2009 (2009-01-30) (NBC)
41 4 "Hello, Goodbye" Michael Waxman David Hudgins October 22, 2008 (2008-10-22) (DirectTV)
February 6, 2009 (2009-02-06) (NBC)
42 5 "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" Jason Katims Kerry Ehrin October 29, 2008 (2008-10-29) (DirectTV)
February 13, 2009 (2009-02-13) (NBC)
43 6 "It Ain't Easy Being J.D. McCoy" Patrick Norris Bridget Carpenter November 5, 2008 (2008-11-05) (DirectTV)
February 20, 2009 (2009-02-20) (NBC)
44 7 "Keeping Up Appearances" Chris Eyre Brent Fletcher November 12, 2008 (2008-11-12) (DirectTV)
February 27, 2009 (2009-02-27) (NBC)
45 8 "New York, New York" Jeffrey Reiner Kerry Ehrin November 19, 2008 (2008-11-19) (DirectTV)
March 6, 2009 (2009-03-06) (NBC)
46 9 "Game of the Week" Michael Waxman David Hudgins December 3, 2008 (2008-12-03) (DirectTV)
March 13, 2009 (2009-03-13) (NBC)
47 10 "The Giving Tree" David Boyd Elizabeth Heldens December 10, 2008 (2008-12-10) (DirectTV)
March 20, 2009 (2009-03-20) (NBC)
48 11 "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" Michael Waxman Bridget Carpenter & Patrick Massett & John Zinman December 17, 2008 (2008-12-17) (DirectTV)
March 27, 2009 (2009-03-27) (NBC)
49 12 "Underdogs" Jeffrey Reiner Elizabeth Heldens January 7, 2009 (2009-01-07) (DirectTV)
April 3, 2009 (2009-04-03) (NBC)
50 13 "Tomorrow Blues" Jeffrey Reiner Jason Katims January 14, 2009 (2009-01-14) (DirectTV)
April 10, 2009 (2009-04-10) (NBC)


On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the third season scored 83 out of 100, based on 15 reviews, indicating "Universal acclaim".[4]


  1. ^ Elber, Lynn (March 31, 2009). "NBC renews 'Friday Night Lights' through 2011". USA Today. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Friday Night Lights: The Third Season (2009)". Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Maureen (February 8, 2008). "'Friday Night Lights' - is it game over, or will the Panthers play again?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Critic Reviews for Friday Night Lights Season 3". Metacritic. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]