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‘Friday Night Lights’ Cast: Catch Up With the Dillon Panthers Then and Now

If you know anything about Texas high school football, it’s probably that the game is the state’s pride and joy. High school football in the Lone Star state is equivalent to a professional game in the National Football League, and the Friday Night Lights cast perfectly embodies the phrase, “Everything is bigger in Texas.”

The 2006-2011 hit drama series was a picture-perfect representation of the lives of high school football players in Texas. Although the Dillon Panthers are one of the nation’s best high school teams, the boys deal with the difficulties of growing up while also trying to win a state championship.

Cast of Friday Night Lights
The cast of Friday Night Lights (2006) Universal Television

The star-studded Friday Night Lights cast includes Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton and Taylor Kitsch. Head Coach Taylor (Chandler) is newly in charge of the Dillon Panthers. With immense pressure put on the players and the coach, the Panthers work hard towards their goal of winning a state championship.

Although the Emmy-Award winning series was the most popular, this was not the first project with the name Friday Night Lights. The series actually started out as the book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by Buzz Bissinger in 1990. The book was then adapted into a film in 2004, which starred a few of the main cast members, but follows a different group of high schoolers in a different Texan town.

Check in with the Friday Night Lights cast and see where they have been since the series ended.

Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor

Kyle Chandler; friday night lights cast
2006/2022 Getty

Coach Eric Taylor — er, Kyle Chandler, has had quite the career since his time in the Friday Night Lights cast. A few of Chandler’s film roles after the series include Super 8 (2011), The Spectacular Now (2013) and the Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea (2016).

In 2015, he booked the lead role in another drama series, Bloodline. Chandler, who played the wholesome football coach on Friday Night Lights, was excited about playing a darker role. He explained, “It’s been enjoyable to get inside and play those little intricate alterations with him, within the character.”

Man in a closet
Kyle Chandler in “Bloodline” (2015) Productions

Recently, Chandler worked on Super Pumped (2022) and the film Slumberland (2022). The actor has been married to Kathryn Chandler since 1995 and the couple has two daughters.

Connie Britton as Tami Taylor: Friday Night Lights cast

Connie Britton; friday night lights cast
2006/2023 Getty

When Connie Britton’s time as the Dillon High School guidance counselor came to an end, the actress took on more major roles. She booked another major series, Nashville (2012), right after her time in the Friday Night Lights cast. While she starred on this new series, Britton was in the movies Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) and This is Where I Leave You (2014). After Nashville came to an end, the actress booked Dirty John (2018) and SMILF (2019).

In 2021, she starred on The White Lotus in its first season. Britton, who plays Nicole Mossbacher, explained that she knew the series would be a success. “I didn’t have much doubt that the show would be nominated, because I just think the show’s so good, and I thought that when I read the first script,” Britton said. She was married John Britton from 1991 to 1995 and in 2011, she adopted her son, Yoby, from Ethiopia.

Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor

Aimee Teegarden
2006/2022 Getty

After she was Julie Taylor in the Friday Night Lights cast, Aimee Teegarden had a successful career. In 2011, Teegarden starred in Scream 4, Prom, and Beneath the Darkness, followed by a lead role in 2013’s Love and Honor. The actress also starred in two more series back-to-back: Aim High (2013) and Star-Crossed (2014). In 2016, she starred in the series, Notorious, but the show was canceled after one season.

Teegarden then made a transition into Hallmark films, among them Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (2018), A New Year’s Resolution (2021) and My Christmas Family Tree (2021). Most recently, she starred in Autumn in the City (2022) and Christmas Class Reunion (2022). Her upcoming film, titled An Easter Bloom, came out in March 2024.

Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins: Friday Night Lights cast

Taylor Kitsch; friday night lights cast
2006/2024 Getty

Although Taylor Kitsch’s name will always be synonymous with Tim Riggins of the Friday Night Lights cast, the actor had a major career once the series ended. In 2012, Kitsch booked the lead role in John Carter and in the same year starred in movies, Battleship and Savages. Kitsch then had a part in the Oscar-nominated film, Lone Survivor (2013).

The actor had roles in the TV mini-series, Waco (2018), as David Koresh; and The Defeated (2020). Most recently, Kitsch starred in the series The Terminal List (2022) and Painkiller (2023).

Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen

Zach Gilford
2006/2022 Getty

Fresh out of the Friday Night Lights cast, Zach Gilford booked another series, Off the Map, in 2011. A year later, he booked the show, The Mob Doctor (2012). Among the movies that Gilford starred in are Crazy Kind of Love (2013) and The Purge: Anarchy (2014).

In 2019, Gilford booked L.A.’s Finest, but after two seasons the series came to an end. Most recently, the actor starred in The Midnight Club (2022) and The Fall of the House of Usher (2023). Gilford married Kiele Sanchez in 2012 and the couple has one child together.

Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke: Friday Night Lights cast

Jesse Plemons; friday night lights cast
2006/2024 Getty

Jesse Plemons has been extremely busy since his time as Landry on Friday Night Lights. Plemons starred in Meeting Spencer (2011), The Master (2012) and Other People (2016). A few other films the actor had roles in include The Discovery (2017), American Made (2017), The Post (2017) and Game Night (2018).

Plemons snagged the role of Tom White in the multiple Oscar-nominated film Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). The actor, who loved his role, explained, “When I found out it was Tom White, it felt like every sort of Christmas holiday rolled into one.” Plemons’ other most recent role was on the Max original, Love & Death (2023). He married Kirsten Dunst in 2022 and the couple has two children together.

Minka Kelly as Lyla Garrity

Minka Kelly
2006/2023 Getty

After she was good-girl Lyla Garrity, actress Minka Kelly took on dozens of other major roles. Kelly starred on The Roommate (2011), Just Go with It (2011) and The Butler (2013). She then had a bit of bad luck with two canceled series: Charlie’s Angels (2011) and Almost Human (2013).

In 2018, the actress starred in the Hallmark film The Beach House and the action movie Night Hunter. Most recently, Kelly had a stint on the series’ Titans (2021) and Euphoria (2022).

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