THEN AND NOW: The cast of ‘Friday Night Lights’ 14 years later

‘Friday Night Lights’ helped kickstart many careers. Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images
  • It’s been over a decade since viewers were first introduced to the Dillon Panthers on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.”
  • Many of the show’s stars, like Michael B. Jordan and Jesse Plemons, have gone on to have major film careers.
  • Other actors from the series, like Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler, have appeared on many TV shows since.
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Even 14 years later, the phrase “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” still resonates with fans who fell in love with the Dillon Panthers on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.

The TV series made its debut in 2006 and wrapped in 2011 — and many of its leading cast members have gone on to become Hollywood regulars.

Here’s what the stars of “Friday Night Lights” are up to 14 years after the series made its debut:

Connie Britton starred as Tami Taylor, who played an integral role in guiding the students of Dillon High.

Connie Britton as Tami Taylor. NBC via Netflix

Before becoming a TV show, “Friday Night Lights” was a book – and then it was a film.

Connie Britton starred in the 2004 film adaptation before the NBC series even began. In it, she played Sharon Gaines, who was the lead coach’s wife but with a different name.

Before playing coach’s wife, Tami Taylor, on the NBC series, Britton also appeared as Diane Huxley on the Fox drama “24.”

Since her “Friday Night Lights” days, Britton has had a number of notable roles.

Connie Britton is still starring on TV shows. Danny Moloshok / AP

Britton has stayed busy since the series ended – she played Rayna Jaymes on ABC/CMT’s “Nashville,” Vivien Harmon on FX’s “American Horror Story,” and Debra Newell on Bravo/USA Network’s “Dirty John.”

Some of her recent roles in 2020 include Dean Walker in “Promising Young Woman” and Lola Bell in “Good Joe Bell.”

Kyle Chandler played the Panthers’ coach Eric Taylor, who helped lead his football players through high school on and off the field.

Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor. NBC via Netflix

Prior to 2006, Kyle Chandler had starred on numerous TV shows and in a few made-for-TV movies.

Some of his most notable early roles include Dylan Young on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and Jeff Metcalf in “Homefront.”

Chandler won an Emmy for his role as Coach Taylor in 2010 and has continued acting.

Kyle Chandler has stayed busy. Willy Sanjuan / AP

Chandler has gone on to star on acclaimed TV shows like Netflix’s “Bloodlines” and in big-ticket movies like “Argo,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Recently, he appeared on the Hulu miniseries “Catch-22” as Colonel Cathcart.

Taylor Kitsch became an overnight heartthrob with his portrayal of the brooding and troubled Tim Riggins.

Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins. Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Taylor Kitsch was relatively unknown before landing this role as the Panthers’ star football player.

The same year that “Friday Night Lights” was released, he played Justin in “John Tucker Must Die” and Kyle in “Snakes on a Plane.”

He has since starred in films like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “John Carter,” and “Battleship.”

Taylor Kitsch has since appeared in a number of movies. Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

The actor also appeared on HBO’s series “True Detective” in 2015 and Paramount’s “Waco” in 2018.

Kitsch is set to return to TV as the lead opposite Michael C. Hall on BRON Studios’ “Shadowplay.”

Prior to playing high-school cheerleader Lyla Garrity, Minka Kelly was living out of her suitcase.

Minka Kelly as Lyla Garrity. NBC via Netflix

In October 2019, the actress penned an Instagram post reflecting on her “Friday Night Lights” experience.

In it, Minka Kelly admitted that she originally didn’t think the series “about a player who breaks his neck in the pilot episode is going anywhere.”

She also explained that prior to scoring the role of Lyla Garrity, she’d been working as a scrub nurse at a surgery centre and had been living out of a suitcase at her friend’s apartment.

Since then, she’s starred on a number of TV shows.

Minka Kelly has appeared on a few TV shows since. John Sciulli/Getty Images

In recent years, she played Gaby on NBC’s “Parenthood,” Eve French on ABC’s “Charlie’s Angels,” and Abbey Whitman on The CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”

In one of her most recent roles, Kelly played Dawn Granger on the DC Universe series “Titans.”

Zachary Gilford played Matt Saracen, a student who becomes the team’s quarterback after star Jason Street’s unexpected injury.

Zachary Gilford as Matt Saracen. Bill Records/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Zachary Gilford didn’t really have many screen credits under his belt before 2006.

Gilford has been in a range of projects over the past few years.

Zachary Gilford is still acting. Ilya S. Savenok / Getty

In addition to starring in Taylor Swift’s music video for “Ours” in 2011, he’s played Zach McCall in “Devil’s Due,” Shane in “The Purge: Anarchy,” and Connor Hooks on the YouTube Premium show “Lifeline.”

In the past few years, he also appeared on the Hulu/NBC crime drama “Good Girls” and Fox’s “L.A.’s Finest.”

He’s also set to appear on the Mike Flanagan-created Netflix drama “Midnight Mass.”

Adrianne Palicki played Tyra Collette, a troubled teen who eventually becomes the first in her family to go to college.

Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette. NBC via Netflix

Prior to appearing on “Friday Night Lights,” Adrianne Palicki had several smaller roles as Kara/Lindsay Harrison on The CW/WB’s “Smallville” and Brianna on UPN’s “South Beach.”

Palicki has since starred in a number of action-based films and has done voice work for TV shows.

Adrianne Palicki has voiced a few animated characters. Jack Plunkett / AP

In recent years, the actress appeared in fast-paced flicks like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “John Wick,” and “Red Dawn.”

She’s also done a lot of voice work for Adult Swim’s animated series “Robot Chicken” and has had a recurring role on The WB/CW show “Supernatural.”

Some of her most recent roles were as Bobbi Morse on ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and as Kelly Grayson on Fox’s “The Orville.”

Aimee Teegarden played Eric and Tami Taylor’s oldest daughter Julie.

Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor. Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Aimee Teegarden was relatively unknown before taking part in the series, though she had a cameo on Disney’s “Hannah Montana ” series the same year that “Friday Night Lights” debuted.

Teegarden has continued to appear on TV series.

Aimee Teegarden is still acting. Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

In recent years, she appeared as Rhonda Kimball on The CW’s “90210” and Amanda Miles on “Aim High.”

The actress has also been in a few films, like “Scream 4” and “Bakery in Brooklyn.”

Most recently, she had long-running roles as Ella Benjamin on ABC’s “Notorious” and Nikki on Netflix’s “The Ranch.”

Jesse Plemons played the iconic Landry Clarke.

Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke. Bill Records/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Prior to playing Landry Clarke, Jesse Plemons had several small credits on The WB/ABC’s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series and in the film “Varsity Blues.”

In recent years, Plemons’ career has sky-rocketed.

Jesse Plemons hasn’t slowed down. Richard Shotwell / AP

Recently, he has had major roles on hit series like AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” FX’s “Fargo,” and Netflix’s “Black Mirror.”

He also famously starred in the “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” in 2019. That same year, he appeared as Chuckie O’Brien in the acclaimed “The Irishman.” In 2020, he was in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”

He’s set to appear in the film “Jungle Cruise” in 2021.

Scott Porter starred as Dillon’s star quarterback Jason Street, who suffers from an unexpected injury during the first episode.

Scott Porter as Jason Street. NBC via Netflix

That same year, Scott Porter played Casey Hughes on the Hulu/CBS series “As the World Turns” and Jason Miller on The WB’s “The Bedford Diaries.”

Porter has since voiced a number of video-game characters while tackling other acting projects.

Scott Porter has worked on a number of video games. Star Max / AP

He’s since appeared in films like “Prom Night” and “Dear John” and on shows like CBS’ “The Good Wife” and The CW’s “Hart of Dixie.”

Porter has also voiced quite a few video-game characters over the past few years. He’s set to play a mayor on Netflix’s drama “Ginny and Georgia.”

Gaius Charles played Brian “Smash” Williams, a football player who Coach Taylor takes under his wing.

Gaius Charles as Smash Williams. NBC via Netflix

Before tackling his breakout role, Gaius Charles was relatively unknown, though he had a credit as Carver on the NBC show “The Book of Daniel.”

Since then, Charles has had a number of small roles.

Gaius Charles is still appearing on TV. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Charles has appeared in films like”The Messenger” and “Salt,” and has had guest-starring roles on series like “Grey’s Anatomy” and CBS’ “NCIS.”

Recently, he played Reverend Carver on CBS’ “God Friended Me” and Bronson on The CW’s “Roswell, New Mexico.”

Brad Leland’s role as town mayor and car salesman Buddy Garrity was a staple during the show’s entire run.

Brad Leland as Buddy Garrity. NBC via Netflix

Like Britton, Brad Leland also appeared in the 2004 film “Friday Night Lights.” In it, he played football booster John Aubrey.

Unlike many of his castmates, the actor had numerous film credits to his name prior to 2006, including “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Patriot.”

He’s since starred on HBO shows like “Veep” and “The Leftovers.”

Brad Leland has been in a number of films since. Eric Charbonneau / AP

In terms of upcoming projects, Leland is set to play Frank Smith in “The Orphan Train” and Colt in “Land.”

Michael B. Jordan made a late entrance on the show as troubled football player Vince Howard.

Michael B. Jordan as Vince Howard. Bill Records/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Michael B. Jordan had several significant acting credits under his belt by the time he starred on “Friday Night Lights.”

He’d already appeared on HBO’s “The Sopranos”,” HBO’s “The Wire,” and ABC’s “All My Children.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jordan said the role of Vince Howard particularly appealed to him due to his background as an athlete. Plus, he did his own stunts.

“The feeling that I had commanding those guys on the offence and being the quarterback and shooting everything myself and how everyone responded to me … to be Vince in that moment was something that I’ll never forget,” he said.

Today, Jordan is an A-list actor.

Michael B. Jordan has been in Marvel films. John Lamparski/Getty Images

Jordan has gone on to play Alex on “Parenthood,” Adonis Johnson in the “Creed” franchise, and Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s “Black Panther.”

Over the next few years, he’s scheduled to reprise his role as Erik Killlmonger on Marvel’s “What If…?” and Adonis Creed in “Creed III.”

He is also set to play Damany Lewis in the drama “Wrong Answer.”

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