Network: NBC, DirecTV’s The 101
Episodes: 76 (hour)
TV show dates: October 3, 2006 — February 9, 2011
Series status: Ended
Performers include: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Adrianne Palicki, Aimee Teegarden, Jesse Plemons, Gaius Charles, Scott Porter, Derek Phillips, Blue Deckert, Brad Leland, Liz Mikel, Stacey Oristano, Nieko Mann, Kevin Rankin, and Kate Krause.
TV show description:
Based on the award-winning novel of the same name, this drama follows the Dillon, Texas community and high school football team.
Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), wife Tami (Connie Britton) and daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden) move to the small community as the series begins.
Students and players include shy quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), egotistical running back Smash Williams (Gaius Charles), sullen fullback Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), paralyzed former quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter), musician Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons), former cheerleader Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly), and Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki).
Episode 76 — Always
With five days to go before the State Championship, reporters swarm the Lions’ practice field and ask the players, to their growing irritation, not about their impending championship game but about how they feel about the elimination of the East Dillon football program. One of the reporters interviewing Vince tries to get him to talk about what playing on next year’s Panthers/Lions “super team” with various Panthers will be like. Vince refuses to bite and insists on talking about State and how the Lions are going to win. Another reporter asks Tinker what he’s going to do next year since the super team will only be taking the cream of the crop. Tinker tells him he’s a “total jackass” and walks away, kicking over his chair as he goes. The press wants Coach Taylor to comment on his rumored offer to coach the super team, but he refuses.
At home, the Taylor family decorates their Christmas tree. Coach points out to Tami that the five-year contract he’s been offered would mean a lot of security for the family and would allow them to buy the house they’ve always wanted. Tami tells him that she’s thinking that Braemore would probably set them up pretty nicely in Philadelphia too, “college style.” She reminds Coach that the people offering him the contract are the same ones who fired him for no reason two years before. He insists they’re not the same people. Tami asks Julie’s opinion, but she puts her fingers in her ears – la, la, la, la! – and refuses to get involved. Tami and Coach continue to argue Philly vs. Texas but are interrupted by the doorbell. Tami answers the door. It’s Matt, looking for Julie.
Julie and Matt go out to their old haunt, the Alamo Freeze. Julie tells him that she wishes he had told her he was coming home for Christmas so they could’ve planned something. Matt stops her outside the Freeze. He tells her that after her visit to Chicago, he knows now that he loves her and wants to be with her forever. He gets down on one knee in front of the Freeze and proposes with his grandmother’s ring. Julie bursts into tears and accepts. They kiss. Then Julie says her dad must’ve flipped when Matt asked him about marrying her. Matt laughs, thinking she’s joking that he would ask for her dad’s permission. Julie panics and tells him he has to ask for Coach’s permission. She tells Matt to pretend that he hasn’t asked her yet and to go ask Coach for permission, man to man. Matt, clearly nervous as hell, says, “Okay, man to man.”
Tim and Billy argue as Tim fixes his truck. Billy wonders why Tim’s fixing his truck, since Tim says he’s moving to Alaska. When Tim says he might not be going now, Billy asks if it’s because he slept with Tyra. Mindy walks out of the house with Stevie and asks Tim not to sleep with her sister because it’s like incest now. Billy says it’s not incest because there’s no bloodline. But Mindy and he both agree that it’s a little creepy. Tim changes the subject and asks if he can take Stevie for the day. He wants some bonding time with his baby nephew. Mindy jumps on the offer and tells him she’ll be right out with Stevie’s diaper bag.
Regina is showing off Christmas trees to some customers at the garden store when Vince joins her with some food he’s brought for her. Regina thanks him and lets him know that she got a ride to State. Vince asks her if she’s heard from his dad. She hasn’t, and she gently tells Vince that he doesn’t want Ornette there, that this is Vince’s day and she doesn’t want his dad taking that away from him. Vince insists that it’s State; it’s once in a lifetime, but Regina tells him not to worry about it and sends him off to practice to “throw some passes and do what you do!”
Matt practices his speech to Coach on Landry. Landry just laughs at his attempt, but Matt’s in no mood to be mocked. Landry tells him he’s overthinking the whole thing. The crazy thing, Landry says, is that just a few years ago they were wondering how they would even talk to Julie Taylor, and now here Matt is asking her to marry him. Matt, with his classic goofy smile, agrees. Landry reassures him. Coach has always loved him, right? Asking for Julie’s hand shouldn’t be a problem. Matt agrees. Meanwhile, at the field house, the coaches finish up a meeting. Jess asks Coach to consider bringing her with him to next year’s super team. Coach, after dodging by pretending not to know what she’s talking about, tells her that the timing for her request is bad. Nevertheless, he reassures her, her involvement is already under consideration.
Tim brings Stevie in his stroller to watch the team practice. He gives Stevie advice about football, boosters and, especially, cheerleaders, saying, “Never turn away a memory.” He hears Billy yelling on the field, and tell Stevie, “Yep, that’s your old man.” On the field, Tinker, depressed, tells Vince that State will be his last game because they won’t take him on next year’s super team. Vince reassures Tinker that he’s got some pull and will make sure Tinker makes the super team. He tells Tinker to stay focused on State. Coach visits Tim and Stevie on the sidelines. Coach asks Tim if Tim’s doing all right working at Buddy’s, and Tim answers noncommittally, “It’s a job right now.” Coach reminds Tim that if he needs anything, he can call him. Tim says Coach is getting himself another ring this year. Coach says, “Goddamn good chance.”
Matt visits Coach in his office and nervously fumbles out his request for Julie’s hand in marriage. Coach, at first toying like a cat with Matt’s nervousness, laughs at him. But when he realizes Matt is serious, he gets quietly angry. After pointing out their ages – Matt is 19 and Julie is 18 – Coach says, “The answer to your question is going to be no today, it will be no tomorrow, and it will probably be no until the sun burns out.” Matt says they don’t actually need his permission, that Julie already said “yes” and that Matt was asking as a courtesy. Coach, pissed, tells Matt he’s doing him the courtesy of telling him Julie’s answer is “no.” Coach runs home to tell Tami they have a bigger problem than whether they stay or move to the East Coast. Matt has proposed to Julie and Julie’s said yes. Tami’s shocked and insists they’re too young.
Tim brings Stevie by the Collette house, which is decked out for Christmas, to see Stevie’s grandma Angela and aunt Tyra. Tim asks Tyra what she’s doing the next night. Tyra says that she’ll actually be at Buddy’s with the newly engaged Matt and Julie. Tim is amazed to hear that “7” is in town and engaged. Angela passes Stevie off to Tyra for a diaper change. Tim says he’ll see Tyra at Buddy’s tomorrow night. Tyra says off-handedly, “Yeah, off course,” suddenly cold to him after their night together. At the Taylor’s, Tami goes to Julie’s room to discuss the engagement. Julie proudly shows off her engagement ring, which was Matt’s grandma’s ring. Tami is seriously moved by this but comments that Julie and Matt are just so young. Tami tells Julie that she and Coach want to take her and Matt to dinner to have a conversation.
Vince finds Ornette at a bar. Ornette steps outside with Vince, telling Vince that he doesn’t need to check up on him. When Vince doesn’t say anything, Ornette switches gears and tells him to give his greetings to Regina, telling Vince he’s sorry. Vince reminds Ornette that they’re playing State on Friday and that he got him a ticket to the game. Ornette, still upset that Vince chose Coach’s guidance over his own, says that he’s got things to do that day, but that he’ll be watching. Vince doesn’t say anything as Ornette walks back into the bar. The next day, when tickets to State are handed out, Coach takes note of the fact that Vince only asks for one ticket.
Becky runs into Tim holding Stevie outside a convenience store and tells him that since her mom is back from her job on the cruise, she’s moving home. When she says that it’s good timing since she’s worn out her welcome with Mindy, Tim tells her that he doubts that and that Mindy will probably miss Becky more than she knows. Becky mentions Tim’s plans for Alaska, but he’s noncommittal. Becky tells Tim that she took his advice and “did the whole high school thing” and is really glad she made those memories. She tells him she’s finally over her crush and asks if they can be friends. Tim says, “More like family.”
Coach and Tami are out to dinner with Matt and Julie. Julie reminds her parents that they were young when they got married. Coach says that was a different time. He insists that marriage requires maturity, two people who for the rest of their lives are willing to listen to each other and to compromise. This assertion earns him a sharp look from Tami. Julie says she understands and that Coach and Tami are her inspiration for a successful marriage. Tami, upset by the talk, excuses herself from the table. Coach finds her crying outside the restaurant and hugs her. Tami tells him that it’s her turn. They’ve compromised for his job, and now it’s time to do the same for her. Coach just stands silently, patting his hands on his legs. Tami, upset by his silence, starts to say, “You just can’t…” but then gives up and insists they go back inside.
Late that night, Coach finds Tami awake on the couch. He asks her how they’re going to make a decision if she won’t talk to him. Tami says that she has talked to him. Defeated, Tami announces that she’s decided she’s going to say no to Braemore because she’s never going to win this fight. Much to her disappointment, Coach just says “alright.” Julie walks out of her bedroom. She tells them that she knows they think she’s young and making a rash decision, but she wants them to know that she’s not going to drop out of college. For her, marrying Matt is about spending the rest of her life with her best friend. Julie wants them to trust her to make the right decision. Tami insists they do trust her and that they just want her to be happy. Coach, looking very sad, nods in agreement.
Billy and Mindy drive Becky to her mother’s house. Becky thanks Billy and then reassures Mindy, who is reacting to Becky’s leaving by going silent, that she’s not going to forget everything that Billy and Mindy did for her. Becky says that she loves Stevie and she’s going to love the twins just as much. She’ll be over at their house all the time because they’re a family and Mindy is her sister. Mindy cries. Becky’s mom, Cheryl, comes running out to greet Becky, and Mindy, in tears, turns away. Elsewhere, Jess comes home to find out that her father’s franchise in Dallas has been hugely successful, and he’s moving her and her brothers to Dallas. Meanwhile, Coach finds Ornette at the same bar where Vince visited him. Coach gives Ornette the ticket to State, commenting that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Vince, then walks away without another word.
Becky and her mom are outside on their porch catching up when Luke stops by unexpectedly with flowers and a teddy bear. As he walks up Becky’s mom insists, “He’s a hottie!” but Becky, laughing, tells her mom to be cool. Luke tells Becky that he misses her and he’s crazy about her and he was stupid and he’s sorry. Becky is speechless so Cheryl introduces herself to Luke. Luke welcomes her home. She tells him he’s a sweetheart… as long as he learns to wear a condom. When he says, “Yes, ma’am” she adds, “Serious, I’ll kill ya.” Then she gives them some privacy. Luke declares his love to Becky and apologizes again. She forgives him. Luke tells Becky he wants to be with her, forever and ever and ever. They kiss.
At Buddy’s, Tim, Tyra, Matt and Julie share a round of drinks. Tyra makes fun of Matt for proposing outside of the Alamo Freeze, saying that’s amazing, but Matt insists in all seriousness that it was amazing. Tyra notes that they’re all doing great: Matt and Julie are getting married, Tyra is kicking ass at college and Tim is out of prison early on good behavior. As a slow country tune comes on, Matt leads Julie to the dance floor. Tim does the same with a slightly reluctant Tyra. As they dance, he tells her that being with her feels right. She accuses him of just being lonely and tells him that she can’t do this again with him, because she’s got plans. Tim, looking right at her, tells her bluntly that he doesn’t. Conflicted, she nevertheless leans her cheek on his shoulder as they finish dancing to the song, “Come back darlin’, I’ll be waiting for you.”
Buddy wakes Coach and Tami with an early phone call: the Panthers want Coach to sign the contract to coach next year’s super team before Coach leaves with the Lions for State. Buddy offers to bring it by the field house. As Buddy speaks, Coach stands in their dining room, looking at Tami’s offer letter from Braemore that is lying open on the table. Coach, annoyed at being awoken so early and by his bothered conscience, tells Buddy to never call that early again no matter what the reason. Tami comes out of the bedroom to ask who it was. Coach tells her they want him to sign the contract before he goes to State. Tami, still feeling defeated, says nothing about it. She tells Coach she’s taking Gracie Belle to see Santa Claus that morning. Coach stands thinking.
Julie and Matt help decorate the Christmas tree at Matt’s grandma’s house. His grandma digs out her old wedding dress. Matt gently tells her that Julie might want to wear her own dress, but Grandma thinks that’s nonsense. She asks Julie if she can see her ring on Julie. Grandma touches her forehead to the ring, then tearfully asks if Julie likes it. Julie says, “It’s beautiful, Mrs. Saracen.” Grandma corrects her, telling her to call her Grandma now; they’re family. They embrace, and Grandma Saracen goes to look for shoes and a veil. Julie has a moment of doubt and asks Matt if they’re making the right decision. Matt reassures her that it doesn’t matter how old they are or if they live in the same state, they know they love each other and they’re perfect together. Grandma emerges from the closet with a decidedly ancient veil.
At the field house, the players and coaches gather to get ready to leave for State. Jess knocks on Coach Taylor’s door. He invites her in, and she tells him about her family’s move to Dallas; she won’t be a part of his super team after all. Coach Taylor tells her that she’ll be sincerely missed. Jess says that she can’t tell him how much this season has meant to her and that being a part of the Lions has been the greatest experience of her life. Coach Taylor tells her that he thinks it’s been his, too. As she starts to leave, he tells her that he knows the coach at Dallas Walker High School and that he’d be happy to call him and put in a word for Jess. She thanks him and leaves.
As the players get their stuff ready in the locker room, Vince asks if he can talk to Jess for a minute. He pulls her aside. He tells her that at first he hated having Jess on the team. But now, he says, look how far they’ve come. The team is going to State, and Vince feels like one of the luckiest men in the world because he gets a chance to share it with his girlfriend. Vince tells Jess he loves her and that he’s so glad that she’s a part of the team. They kiss, then as they hug, Jess looks off sadly over his shoulder.
Tyra and Tim bring some lawn chairs to his land with a beer cooler. After they settle in, Tyra confesses that she’s been in love with Tim since she was five years old and being here with him is the greatest feeling she’s had in a very long time. Tim says he feels the same way. But Tyra tells him that she’s scared because she has dreams. Tim says he knows she does, and he has dreams as well. He’s going to build a house exactly where they’re sitting. He’s going to get a job. Then he’s never going to do anything illegal for the rest of his life, guaranteed. He says maybe one day their dreams can merge together. Tyra smiles as they toast with beers.
At the mall, Tami takes Gracie Belle to seen Santa. Coach comes running down the escalator to find them, scaring Tami as she’s taking a picture of Gracie Belle on Santa’s lap. She takes the picture, and Coach thanks Santa; then Coach tells Tami that he needs to talk to her. He turned the contract down. It’s her turn. He wants to go to Philadelphia. Shocked, she says, “Really, babe?” He insists and asks her if she’ll take him to Philadelphia with her. She kisses him in answer, and as they hug, she gets a huge smile on her face.
The Lions’ bus caravan arrives at the Cotton Bowl. Awestruck, the players step onto the field. Later that night, the team, all suited up, sits in the locker room, nervously awaiting Coach Taylor’s pregame speech. Coach talks to Vince and tells him that he may never know how proud he is of him. Vince tells Coach that he changed his life. Coach Taylor stands and offers a pregame prayer for the team, to allow them to use their talents to the best of their ability… as a family.
The game is starting and Vince gets the team fired up. After kickoff, Coach turns to see Tami send him a kiss from the stands. The Lions are frustrated at first, watching the Hawks score. Vince’s father walks into the stands. After a tough back and forth, with just seconds left in the game, the Hawks score again. It’s 26-21 Hawks with only three seconds to go. Coach Taylor tells Vince it’s 63 yards and he’s got to give his receivers time. This is it, the play of Vince’s life. The ball is snapped and Vince takes it, his receivers running down the field. He dances around in the pocket, able to give his receivers some time, then he hurls the ball toward the end zone as the crowd watches, waiting. The ball, a long bomb, hurtles through the air. Everyone’s eyes follow it intently, until finally, the ball…
…is caught by a boy in a green jersey. It’s Philadelphia, eight months later, and Coach Taylor is now coaching a new high school team, the Pioneers. On the Braemore campus, a smiling Tami talks to students. Back in Dillon on the Panthers’ field, Vince practices in blue, wearing a large championship ring. Coach Spivey and Coach Crowley are back with the Panthers, as is Buddy Jr. and Tinker. Buddy tools around the practice field in a golf cart. Billy has also joined the super team as a coach. Across town, the process of dismantling the East Dillon scoreboard, complete with the State Champions banner hanging on it, begins.
At the bus depot, Becky kisses Luke, dressed in military fatigues. Luke hands her his State Championship ring. Luke climbs on board the bus, and Becky cries as it rolls away. In Chicago, Matt and Julie get ready for their day; Julie has transferred to a college in Chicago. In Dallas, Jess works with the coach on her new football team, all dressed in black. In the Panthers’ locker room, where the name J. Street is scrawled under the blue Panther “P,” Buddy supervises the placing of a permanent “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!” sign on the wall. On Tim’s land, he and Billy work on building the frame of a house. Billy and Tim take a break for some beers. They raise a toast, “Texas forever.”
Back in Philadelphia, Coach Taylor has his new team take a knee. Coach tells the team that they have a long way to go, and he’s looking forward to it. Coach tells the boys to go home, get their studies done, and get their rest because they need to be back there at 6:00 a.m. sharp, meaning 5:45. The boys respond with a resounding, “Yes, sir!” Coach Taylor encourages them with, “Clear eyes, full hearts,” but no one on the team yet knows how to respond. Coach says they’ll deal with that later. Tami finds Coach on the football field and they kiss. Tami asks if he’s ready to go home. Coach says, “Let’s go,” and they walk off the field arm-in-arm as the lights are turned off on the field, and on the series, for the last time. Courtesy NBC.
First aired: February 9, 2011 on DirecTV and July 15, 2011 on NBC.