TV & Movies

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose With These Friday Night Lights Throwback Pics

Coach Taylor and co. have come so far in 15 years.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 31:  Actor Kyle Chandler and actress Connie Britton at "An Evening wit...
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From major movie roles to award noms aplenty, the cast of beloved NBC drama Friday Night Lights has made significant strides since the show premiered in 2006. Now that FNL is on Netflix, here’s how the stars have transformed their careers over the last 15 years.

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Fresh off a memorable Grey’s Anatomy guest spot, Kyle Chandler became America’s de-facto dad as Coach Taylor — and used the character’s words of wisdom on his real family, too. “I heard more than a few times, ‘Dad, just stop. I saw the episode,’” he told Kelly Clarkson in 2020.

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In addition to starring on Netflix’s Bloodline, Chandler has gone on to appear in critical heavy-hitters like Carol and Manchester by the Sea. He still has plenty of love for the close-knit cast of FNL and had an impromptu reunion with Connie Britton at the 2020 Golden Globes.

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Britton’s Tami Taylor was a moral compass for her family — like Julie (Aimee Teegarden) — and fellow Panthers like Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) and Lyla (Minka Kelly). “It's probably one of the most creative experiences I've ever had,” Britton told The Futon Critic in 2009.

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After FNL, Britton immediately hopped to musical drama Nashville — and never left our screens since. Recent roles in Promising Young Woman and HBO’s The White Lotus serve as further confirmation of the star’s beloved place in film and TV alike.

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Teegarden recently starred in the horror sequel Rings and several holiday Hallmark films — but she still thinks back on the magic of her FNL days. “[I'm still grateful] for being a part of that and knowing that it can exist and does exist," she told Bustle in 2017.


Two of the biggest stars from FNL, Michael B. Jordan and Jurnee Smollett, played the sweet couple Vince and Jess, who shared big-time athletic ambitions. “Jess had so much to her other than just being the girlfriend ... that excited me,” Smollett told The A.V. Club in 2017.

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From playing Erik Killmonger in Black Panther and the upcoming series What If... ?, to helming major action titles like Without Remorse, Jordan is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood. People’s Sexiest Man Alive is also in a delightfully loved-up relationship with Lori Harvey.

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Smollett’s own foray into super-powered cinema with 2020’s Birds of Prey was a fast fan-favorite. She next starred as Leti on Lovecraft Country, earning her first Emmy nom. “She's so familiar to me," Smollett told Bustle of the role. "She is my grandmother, and she is my mother.”

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The Panthers field and locker room played host to plenty of real-life lessons in acting for FNL’s day-one cast. As Taylor Kitsch told Us Weekly in 2018, “I think we were lucky ... I was so green and it was like a master class of just celebrating failure.”

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From I’m Thinking of Ending Things to Judas and the Black Messiah, Plemons is a star — yet he’s still fond of his breakout role as Landry, the unlikely Panther. “I feel like I’m trying desperately to circle back to what it was like [on FNL],” he told The New York Times in 2020.

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From running at a Spartan Race to video-chatting during lockdown, there have been several mini-FNL reunions — but don’t expect a true reboot, per se. “I don't see them going back into that story,” Britton told Entertainment Tonight, though she said she’s up for “a cast reunion.”

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