Friday Night Lights in 5 Mediums


The majority of my posts begin with an inspiration segment.  A few words explaining my motivation to write.  Originally, I was planning to write about podcasts with the inspiration segment focused on Friday Night Lights.  FNL lead me to podcasts. However, as I reminisced about my brief obsession with FNL, it became clear that the story about a town, a team and and a dream needed a post of it’s own.

Friday Night Lights

It was to be a summer of coding.  I planned on spending my days Friday Night Lights book coverdeep in the world of  Desmos CL (computational layer) and Google app scripts.  I did neither.  And I completely blame Coach and Tammy Taylor, Tim Riggins, Matt Saracen, Tyra Collete and the rest of the Friday night Lights cast.

During spring semester, I started watching Friday Night Lights, the series, and spent my first week of summer break binge watching the 5th and final season.  It took all of 1 hour before slipping into the dreaded show hole.  Not ready to let go of the characters, I hopped onto the internet searching for fun facts about the series.

That’s when I discovered that the series was actually based on the book, of the same name, written by H. G. Bissinger.  Show hole averted.  I drove to the library and checked out the series inspiring book.  Bissinger skillfully weaves the story of Permian Panther football within layers of Odessa, Texas history.  The book’s rawness clung to me making it even harder to shake the entrenched football culture of Odessa, Texas.  My mind scanning both mediums acknowledging the parallels between the book and the series.  I moved onto Friday Night Lights, the movie.  The triangulation of the book, series and movie fascinated me even more.  More connections, more parallels. More Obsession.

  • Matt Saracen’s character represented Mike Winchell
  • Tim Riggins’ character  represented Don Billingsly
  • Smash Williams’ character represented James ‘Boobie’ Miles
  • Don Billingsly has 3 children: Landry, Skylar and Riggs.  FNL, the series, has characters named Landry Clarke and Tim Riggins
  • Odessa, Texas had 2 high schools, Permian and Odessa.  FNL, the series, introduced a second high school at the end of season 3.
  • IMO, Coach Taylor’s phrase, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose summarizes Coach Grimes’ speech to his players during the 1988 state championship.
  • In actuality, the 1988 Permian Panthers reached the semi-finals not the state championships. The movie adjusted for dramatic effect.
  • I could go on, but won’t 🙂


  • Upper left:  Garrett Hedlund playing Don Billingsly in FNL, the movie
  • Lower left:  Taylor Kitsch’s character, Tim Riggins representing Don Billingsly in FNL, the series
  • Right:  Don Billingsly circa 2015 and 1988

I watched the series. Read the book.  Watched the movie.  Still inside the show hole.  Now what?  PODCAST! Yes, there are podcasts dedicated to FNL.  I listened to Binge TV ‘s podcast on Friday Night Lights- all 6 episodes.  That did the trick.  When the final seconds of the final podcast episode concluded, I felt fulfilled.  Done. But now I was hooked on podcasts.

Closing Thoughts

The post on podcasts never materialized. Instead, I added the fifth medium – blogging.  I watched, read, listened and finally blogged about a heart wrenching story of Texas football.  My next post will pick up where this one ends. The baton officially passing from Friday Night Lights to the academically minded podcasts discovered thanks to my FNL obsession.  Until then, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.


About jgvadnais

Instructional Technology Coach. Desmos Fellow. Google Level 1 Certified. SoCal transplant. New Englander at heart. Lover of yoga, dogs, green smoothies and coffee creamer
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