"Pilot" is the first episode of Season 1, and the first overall episode of Friday Night Lights. It was directed and written by Peter Berg. It first aired on October 3, 2006.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

We will all be tested - In the town of Dillon, Texas, football is life. Pressure mounts as the Dillon Panthers, the #1 high school football team in Texas, is surrounded by a swirl of press, recruiters, and State Championship-sized expectations.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Monday[edit | edit source]

Slammin' Sammy Meade previews the upcoming game of the Dillon Panthers against the Westerby Mustangs. Susan, from South Bain, calls the station and mentions the high pressure on Eric Taylor, the head coach of the Dillon Panthers. She suggests the attention Coach Taylor is receiving is ridiculous, as a news crew is following him during preseason, saying, "he's no Mack Brown."

Before leaving for school, Matt Saracen tells his grandmother he made two tuna fish sandwiches and put her medicine in the green Gatorade. As Landry Clarke, his best friend, drives him to football practice before school, Slammin' Sammy Meade is heard in the car radio talking about Dillion quarterback Jason Street, who has a 72% pass completion rate, which is not only number one in Texas but also in the nation. Landry asks Matt if he thinks he'll ever play as quarterback this season.

Billy Riggins tries to get his brother Tim Riggins to get off the couch and go to football practice. Instead, Tim's girlfriend Tyra joins him on the couch.

Lyla Garrity is preparing baked sweets before heading to school. Her mom Pam tells her she cannot go out with her boyfriend Jason in the evening because of family dinner. Lyla corrects her, saying there is rally rehearsal tonight.

Meanwhile, on the football field Tommy Hayskins of NBC Sports is interviewing Coach Taylor and Jason Street, where we learn Coach Taylor has been with the Dillon Panthers for six years before finally becoming head coach during Jason's senior year. Jason tells Tommy that Coach Taylor has been his coach all through Pee Wee and quarterback coaching him for freshman and JV years.

A Notre Dame recruiter talks to Jason's parents, telling them he'd like to invite them up to South Bend. Jason's mom asks him how good Jason really is, to which he replies, "your son may be the best I have ever seen" in his 27 years of recruiting.

Brian "Smash" Williams speaks to the reporters, telling them of their undefeated season and plan to become state champions. He says after high school he plans to win in Pasadena with Mack Brown, win a national championship, and win a Heisman. When asked about his father, who passed away a couple of years ago, he becomes very defensive. When asked about racism on the team, he says he doesn't let it fade him and he keeps his blinders on.

Tim Riggins, now being interviewed, says that it's not racism, but that he just doesn't like him (presumably Smash), saying "that dude could be Santa Claus and I still won't like him." When asked about his aggression on the field, he says he just likes to hurt people and bring them down. The reporter comments that he smells alcohol on Tim's breath, to which he denies drinking alcohol. During practice, when Tim's play is subpar due to him being half-drunk, Coach Taylor instructs the players to take turns tackling him.

At the local diner, Jason tells the news reporter following him that he usually orders the Aztec burger every day leading up to a game. The reporter jokes, saying that it could be his first endorsement. Smash overhears and jokes that he has endorsements for Nike, Adidas, and Reebok, Big Macs and Whoppers, and Coke and Pepsi (the joke being that he can have endorsements for multiple brands despite conflicts of interest). Meanwhile, in the corner Landry asks Matt if he'll go up and talk to Julie Taylor, who is in their English class and whom Matt is intimidated by because she is the coach's daughter and he has a crush on her. Landry asks if she wants to eat lunch with them, and she tells them she doesn't eat with football players or Landry.

The news reporter asks Jason and Lyla how he handles the enormous expectations, as Sports Illustrated has named the Dillon Panthers as the best football team in Texas. While Lyla responds, Tyra mocks her in the background before joining Smash at his booth and taking a bite of his burger.

In his office, Coach Taylor is reviewing game tape of the Westerby Mustangs as he is joined by his wife Tami, who tells him he forgot to tell her they must attend the opening of Garrity Motors, a new car dealership owned and operated by Buddy Garrity, tomorrow night.

Back home, Matt practices throwing a football on his front yard, trying to get through the middle of a tire and failing. His grandmother watches Matt throw while Landry tries to describe Dillon and its unnatural obsession with football using crossword puzzle clues.

Jason drops Lyla off at her house at night and tells her he loves her.

At the Taylor house, Tami is looking at homes for sale in the newspaper while Coach Taylor reviews more game tape and Julie continues to read Moby Dick on the couch. She draws several analogies from the book to Dillon, saying the sea is the football season with all its uncertainties, the white whale is the State Championship, the whalers are the football team and the coaches, and her father, the head coach, is Ahab.

Tuesday[edit | edit source]

Slammin' Sammy Meade is back, this time fielding a call from Leonard, who insists there's no need to worry about Coach Taylor or the game, as their players are solid. Coach Taylor talks to a friend who came back from a Westerby practice, who mentions the team runs some of the fastest counters and has a front line that is big, though not particularly heavy, just tall. He advises Coach Taylor to add some height to his defense, like playing Dillon Panthers Dillard and Oliver. Coach Taylor tells him he likes this suggestion, to which his friend replies that it doesn't matter what Coach Taylor likes - he must win this game Friday, as he has no excuses. With such a good team and quarterback, he has no place to go but down. Coach Taylor responds, "It's only football," to which he and his friend laugh.

At the opening of Garrity Motors, Buddy introduces Dillon Mayor Lucy Rodell, who asks Coach Taylor and his staff and team to join the stage with her. Coach Taylor gives a brief speech before Smash excites the crowd. Tami and Julie are approached by Pam and some other women, who insist that Tami join them for book club Wednesday night. Coach Taylor is approached by Pete and Tom, who talk to him about his coaching and bombard him with questions, much to his annoyance, while Mayor Rodell talks to Jason about his plan for Friday night's game. Meanwhile Tim is approached by one of the women who asked Tami to join book club. Now somewhat drunk, she asks him what a "blitz" is, commenting that it sounds sexual and suggesting he could "blitz" an older woman if he wanted to. Tyra hints to Jason that it must be so boring dating Lyla; she suggests it's like drinking milk every day, and that he should have a milkshake. The news reporters start taking pictures while he is with Tyra, and Lyla arrives to see this, to her dismay. Tyra, bored, goes to talk to Smash while Jason amends things with Lyla. When Tim tells Tyra to go home, she resists and there is tension between Smash and Tim.

Wednesday[edit | edit source]

At a community football game, the Dillon Panthers are playing against little boys for fun while the Dillon Panther cheerleaders cheer alongside the little girls. In the locker room, a little boy tells Jason he should play professionally for the Dallas Cowboys and be better than Roger Staubach and Troy Aikmen. Another boy tells him he thinks Jason could be better than Peyton Manning. Before praying, one of the boys asks Jason if he thinks God loves football, to which Jason replies, "I think everybody loves football."

Thursday[edit | edit source]

Coach Taylor visits a house for sale. When asked if he'll make an offer, he says he'll wait and see what happens on Friday night. On the radio, a caller voices his concerns about Coach Taylor's inexperience, saying he'll rely on Street too much.

Outside at night, Tim talks to Jason and Lyla, telling him he'll stay in Texas while Jason plays in the NFL and he receives 1% of Jason's paycheck. After Jason is finished in the NFL, Tim says they'll open up a hunting ranch together.

Friday[edit | edit source]

On the day of the season opening football game, people all over town are preparing in their own way. Many local businesses are prematurely closed, school buses are lined up, spectators are crowding the stands, and the Dillon Panthers are gearing up in the locker room. Coach Taylor tells the team he expects them to not just win but to take the game seriously and execute, ending the speech with "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!"

Smash and Tim are both highlighted with their on-field plays. Coach Taylor calls for a Barracuda 550 and later Jason calls for a 27 stretch, resulting in the first touchdown of the season for the Dillon Panthers.

Toward the end of the second half, the Westerby Mustangs make an interception, which could possibly win the game. Jason, the only one on the field in a spot to interfere, decides to tackle the player. He succeeds, but is unable to move and the audience is in silence as he is carried off in a stretcher. Now, Coach Taylor must play Matt Saracen, who initially makes silly mistakes as he is unprepared and nervous. Nevertheless, he manages to push the Panthers to a victory with the help of Smash and Tim. After the game, the players pray for Jason and then head to the hospital, where his condition is still unclear. Tim and Smash make amends while Julie tries to comfort Lyla, who is very distraught. At the end of the episode in a voice-over, Coach Taylor says, "We are all vulnerable, and we will all at some point in our lives fall."

Cast[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Slammin' Sammy Meade: "Good morning, West Texas! Slammin' Sammy Meade comin' at you with Panther Football radio! 470 AM on your dial. It's Monday morning, and we all know what that means. Only four days 'till Friday night."

Landry: "I'm thinking about getting a sign that says, 'Landry Clarke, utterly useless, all-state jerk team.'"

Smash: "You're making us look weak. One person fumbles the ball, we ALL fumble the ball! One person shows up half-drunk, we ALL show up half-drunk!"

Tim: "Let's touch God tonight boys. Let's touch God."

Julie: "I don't eat with football players. Oh, and I don't eat with you either."

Jason: "I think everybody loves football."

Tyra: "Really? How interesting...That's SO interesting...I think I'd be hard pressed to remember anything so damn interesting."

Coach Taylor: "Do you remember how to read the coverage? You go out there and you see where their guys are and you see where our guys are. Then you throw the ball to our guys. Stay calm, Do your best....Son, we have a chance to win this game."
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