Tim Riggins

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Tim Riggins
Friday Night Lights character
Tim Riggins.JPG
Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "Always"
Portrayed by Taylor Kitsch
Occupation Starting fullback/running back of the Dillon Panthers, Bartender at Buddy's Bar
Family Walt Riggins (Father)
Billy Riggins (Brother)
Significant other(s) Tyra Collette (ex-girlfriend)
Lyla Garrity (fling/ex-girlfriend)

Tim Riggins is a character in the NBC/DirecTV drama Friday Night Lights, portrayed by actor Taylor Kitsch. Tim Riggins was the fullback/running back of the Dillon Panthers.

Characterization and background[edit]

Tim has been described as a character "who has puppy-dog, lady-killing eyes under his scraggly bangs."[1] He is the fullback/running back of the Dillon Panthers with jersey #33. Tim is depicted as a womanizer and his ex-girlfriends include Tyra Collette and Lyla Garrity, with whom he has an off and on relationship. He copes with life through casual sex and heavy drinking. Despite his laissez-faire attitude, he is extremely loyal to his teammates when the occasion demands, as shown when he physically hits an opposition player who verbally provokes his black teammate Smash Williams[2] and puts his Panthers career on the line to follow best friend Jason Street to Mexico to talk him out of a potentially life-threatening situation.

Throughout the series Tim lives with his older brother Billy after having been abandoned by both their parents. Billy was about to go to college on a golf scholarship when their father Walt left and Billy became the sole guardian of his younger brother. Despite their seemingly immature behavior and Tim's stoic and uncaring facade, the brothers are shown to be caring and loyal to each other in times of crisis.

In season 1, Coach Taylor's wife discovers that Tim has been struggling academically and had been asking his schoolmates (especially the rally girls) to do his assignments for him. She pairs him up with Landry, who subsequently finds out that Tim has difficulty reading and writing (presumably dyslexia). Landry reads that week's assigned reading Of Mice and Men out loud to him and it is shown that Tim can comprehend the material better and even scored a B- on his assignment.[3]

Tim is best friends with his former quarterback Jason Street, whom he has known since they were young. Their catchphrase is "Texas Forever". They drift apart for a while after Jason discovers that Tim has been sleeping with his girlfriend Lyla Garrity to cope with his guilt over Jason's accident. By season 3 they are on speaking terms again. Through all the ups and downs, they remain almost unconditionally supportive of each other and are often seen helping one another out or coming to one another's rescue.[4][5]

Of the original main characters whom he went to school with, Tim is the only one who remains in Dillon when the show ended: Smash went to Texas A&M University in College Station on a football scholarship, Jason moved to the New York City area after getting a job there while Lyla, Landry, Matt and Tyra all left to attend college elsewhere.

Riggins Also Signed To The University of Texas - San Antonio, but after a short period of time felt college was a waste of time and moved back to Dillon.


Season one[edit]

In season one Tim is shown being unable to cope with his best friend Jason Street's accident, blaming himself for not being there to block the hit that Jason took. At the start of the series he is dating Tyra Collette though they both repeatedly cheat on one another. After Tyra breaks up with him he begins sleeping with his best friend's girlfriend Lyla Garrity. After Lyla calls off their affair Tim goes on to stand by her and encourage her to stay with cheerleading even after their relationship is discovered and she becomes a social outcast. In the back half of season one Tim becomes close to his neighbour Jackie and her young son Bo. The two have an affair but she eventually breaks up with him as he is much younger than her.

Billy begins to take Tim seriously as a football player in season one, talking to coach Taylor about a potential scholarship for Tim.

Tim also reunites with his absentee father this season, tracking him down after receiving a traffic ticket that could result in the loss of his license without a parent's signature. He learns that his alcoholic father is now sober.

Season two[edit]

In season two Tim discovers that Jackie and his brother Billy are in a serious relationship. He then travels to Mexico with Jason to support him while he undergoes an experimental surgery involving shark's blood and stem cells. After learning that Jason could die on the operating table he enlists the help of Lyla Garrity and the two convince Jason to give up on the procedure.

Upon his return Tim learns that he has been kicked off the Panthers after his week long absence. He is later able to rejoin the team after showing his commitment by showing up to practice and apologizing to the members of his team.

Because he is unwilling to live with Billy as long as Billy is in a relationship with his ex, Jackie, Tim ends up briefly living with Tyra and then He then moves in with a meth dealer and his ferrets only to return home to Billy once the meth dealer wakes him with a gun to his face. After leaving the meth house he moves in with coach Taylor. He is kicked out of the Taylor residence after coach Taylor sees Tim putting a drunken Julie in her bed and misinterprets the situation. Upon his return home he discovers that Billy and Jackie have broken up and Jackie is moving away.

Tim also begins to more seriously pursue Lyla, showing up at her church and vowing to do whatever it takes to get her to go out with him.

Season three[edit]

At the start of season three Tim and Lyla are already in a relationship. Friction occurs between the couple when Tim, now a senior, begins to attract serious interest from various colleges. Lyla encourages Tim to pursue a scholarship while Tim refuses to take the recruiters seriously. Billy was concerned about Tim's future as he wanted Tim to go to college and make something of himself – something which Billy himself never got to achieve – and asks Jason for help. They put together a highlight reel to send to recruiters.[4] Tim is then pursued by San Antonio State and signs with them becoming the first Riggins to attend college.

He also enters in a business venture flipping houses with his brother Billy, his best friend Jason and his friend Herc.[4] He later accompanies Jason to New York where he helps him get a job and reunite with the mother of his child.

Season four[edit]

Upon graduation from high school, Tim went to fictional San Antonio State College for a short time where he played football before dropping out, realizing that it was never part of his plans. After returning to Dillon, he finds he can no longer stay with his brother since Billy is focused on building a life with his pregnant wife, Mindy. After a one night stand with a bartender, Cheryl (Alicia Witt), he moves into a trailer on her property where he frequently finds himself entangled with her teenager daughter, Becky.

He also finds himself volunteer coaching with Coach Taylor and the East Dillon Lions.

Tim and his brother Billy operate an autobody shop, "Riggins' Rigs". Pressure mounts on Billy to provide for his pregnant wife, Mindy, and he agrees to turn his shop into a chop shop to earn more money. After Tim discovers Billy's secret operation which he initially opposes, he agrees to help out in order to make enough money to buy a plot of land he had set his eyes on. However, the police discover their scheme and arrest Tim, the only person who had been in the shop that night. In the season four finale, "Thanksgiving," Tim realizes that his brother needs to stay and provide for his family and turns himself in to the sheriff's office and takes full responsibility for the chop shop, even though it was not his doing.

Season five[edit]

Tim is seen briefly in jail at the beginning of the first episode of Season Five, and returns in the final four episodes of the series. In the episode "Don't Go", Tim's parole hearing takes place with Billy, Coach Taylor, and Buddy Garrity all speaking on Tim's behalf. Tim is released from prison, and over the next few episodes tries to figure out what he will do with his life. He is uncharacteristically harsh and bitter, showing the effect prison has had on him. He is angry at Billy, because he feels that Billy hasn't done everything he could to get his life in order. He declares that he is going to sell his property and eventually move to Alaska to work on pipe lines. He reconnects with former girlfriend Tyra Collette who comes back to town to visit family. He and Tyra briefly rekindle their relationship, and she helps soften his heart. Unsure of what his own future will be, he helps Becky come to terms with her life and is given a job by Buddy Garrity. Tim begins to reconcile with his family, finally realizing that "Texas Forever" is still his dream.

Tim's final scene in the series is that of he and Billy building Tim's home on his property. The finale also suggests that he and Tyra may end up back together later on in their lives.

Taylor Kitsch[edit]

Taylor Kitsch is a native of British Columbia, Canada. In his early youth Kitsch was an avid hockey player, but had to give up the sport after a knee injury.[6] In 2002 he moved to New York, where he studied acting, and soon started to land movie roles.[7] In 2006 he had roles both in the internet-propelled Snakes on a Plane and the critically panned The Covenant.[1] In 2012, he starred in John Carter.

Kitsch says he is able to relate to the character of Tim Riggins based on his own personal experiences. "My father is out of my life, more or less", he revealed in an interview, "so I discover stuff that maybe I wasn't even dealing with as a person."[6] Also his background as a young and promising athlete helped him connect with the role. Nevertheless, he admits to differ from his character at least in his relations with the opposite sex; "...I didn't have as many girls at my fingertips. I don't know many guys who do!"[8]


Critical reception of the Riggins character has been varied. Variety magazine opined that "there may be no more compelling, tortured soul on the "FNL" roster than Riggins".[9] Scott Tobias, on the other hand, writing for The A.V. Club, had less enthusiasm for the character. According to Tobias, "he gives you the poses of a hunky, smoldering, haunted young man, but rarely the three-dimensional, flesh-and-bone reality of it."[10] In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly ranked Tim Riggins as number 100 of their "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years."[11]


  1. ^ a b "Taylor Kitsch: Credits by Role". Variety. Retrieved 8 December 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Black Eyes and Broken Hearts". Friday Night Lights. Season 1. Episode 16. February 14, 2007. NBC. 
  3. ^ "Nevermind". Friday Night Lights. Season 1. Episode 11. January 3, 2007. NBC. 
  4. ^ a b c "Keeping Up Appearances". Friday Night Lights. Season 3. Episode 7. November 12, 2008. NBC. 
  5. ^ "Backfire". Friday Night Lights. Season 2. Episode 4. October 26, 2007. NBC. 
  6. ^ a b Harris, Bill (9 September 2007). "Kitsch appeal in 'Friday Night Lights'". Canoe.ca. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Taylor Kitsch as Gambit". NBC. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (31 March 2009). "'Friday Night Lights' star opens up". USA Today. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  9. ^ ""Friday Night Lights": Can't lose". Variety. 28 September 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Tobias, Scott (19 October 2007). "Are You Ready For Friday Night?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Vary, Adam B. (1 June 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 

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