Power Ranking The Top 15 Characters On Friday Night Lights

By Mikey Traynor
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Friday Night Lights is as good a sports related TV series as you will ever see.

Across five seasons we were brought on a journey through the ups and downs of a place called Dillon, a football crazy Texas town with an obsessive fixation on the fortunes of it's high school football team.

The storylines were great, the choreography of the sports scenes were brilliant, but what really set the series apart were the characters and the actors that played them.

After many arguments and much deliberation in the office, we are ready to present you with our power ranking of the top 15 characters in Friday Night Lights. The choices won't please everybody, especially as everyone in the top five could make a genuine claim to be #1.

#15 - J.D. McCoy

A bit of a spoiled little brat, and completely under the thumb of his pushy father, J.D. McCoy is in this list based mostly on his obvious football talent. A lock for a division 1 school, McCoy could be a future NFL star, and well, he is ridiculously handsome in fairness. His feud with Matt Saracen made for great viewing, and like him or not, he was a good character for the show.

#14 - Luke Cafferty

A tenacious defensive player and the heart of the East Dillon Lions, farm-boy Luke Cafferty has a heart of gold. He respects his elders, he always puts in an honest shift, and he is very protective of the women in his life. A stand up guy.


#13 - Herc

This wheelchair-rugby enthusiast became best friends with Jason Street after his accident, and was a highlight of the rehabilitation period of the story. Herc's self deprecating jokes and wisecracks really helped Jason on the road to recovery.

#12 - Buddy Garrity

The most Texan man imaginable, Buddy Garrity cared more about Dillon Panthers football than anything else, even his family. He eventually had an affair with Trya's mother, which saw his marriage end, but Buddy's loveable hopelessness and desperation to be involved with the football programme kept him involved with all aspects of the story.

#11 - Lyla Garrity

Involved in most of the major plotlines was the stunnningly beautiful Lyla Garrity who seemed to just get continually hurt despite trying to help people all the time. Her relationships with Jason Street and Tim Riggins were complex and enthralling, although she did get very, very Jesus-y in as the series progressed.

#10 - Jason Street

While he may feature surprisingly low on this list, Jason Street still offered a lot to the show. On course to become the next Peyton Manning, Street's career ended with him making a tackle to prevent a touchdown, we were then taken on a roller-coaster of emotion as he battled with paralysis after his life was changed forever.

#9 - Vince Howard


A young man who had to fight for everything in his life, East Dillon Lions' mobile QB was a great character. With a recovering addict for a mother, everything was tough for Vince, and his relationship with Jess made for some great watching, but perhaps the most gripping scene was the discussion he had with his absentee father.

#8 - Landry Clarke

Honestly we would have loved to put Landry at #1, but we just couldn't. Landry wasn't an athlete, his skillset suited the classroom more than the football field, but he still earned a spot on the Panthers team through sheer guts and determination. His close friendship with Matt and his pursuit of his true love Tyra made for great viewing, although the latter almost got him in deep trouble.


#7 - Tami Taylor

They say behind every strong man is an even stronger woman, and coach Taylor's wife Tami was just that. A guidance counsellor who actually gave a shit about her students, it became clear from the off that she was no ordinary coaches' wife. Some truly touching interactions with both her husband and her moody daughter set Tami as one of the most reliable characters throughout.

#6 - Matt Saracen

We could write about how great Matt is all day long. Initially portrayed as a crap back-up QB, he stood up to be counted when the entire town wrote him off after Jason Street got injured. A heroic QB who put the team on his back time and again, Matt was also a true gent, caring for his grandmother and dating the coaches daughter. We laughed, we cried, we loved Matt Saracen.

#5 - Billy Riggins

A former Panther himself, Billy's struggles with alcoholism, on and off relationship with Mindy Collette, and his tough but ultimately father-like relationship with his brother Tim, made him a very dynamic character. Once Coach Taylor brought him into the Lions' set-up he began to straighten up and fly right, although he did need his brother to bail him out in a major way...


#4 - Tyra Collette

Where do we start with Tyra? A full range of fortunes and emotions were part and parcel of a Tyra storyline. From waiting tables to community college, Tyra interacted with almost every character in the show, but it was her relationship with Landry in the later seasons that really made her character great.

#3 - Bryan "Smash" Williams

Its the Smash baby! The most charismatic character on the show, Smash talked the talk and walked the walk. An ego driven running back, Smash was the centre point of the Panthers offence, and he loved it. Some truly moving interactions with his mother and coach Taylor emphasised that Smash was a family-first kind of guy underneath it all, but we loved his cocky persona too.

#2 - Coach Eric Taylor

"Now you listen to me..." Guys want to be him, girls want to be with him, Coach Eric Taylor is a real man. We have run out of superlatives for one of the best characters in recent memory. Equally adept at dishing out the hair-dryer treatment or putting an arm around a vulnerable player, Coach Taylor taught us life lessons in damn near every episode. The following video doesn't even do justice to his brilliance, but at least we will always remember... Clear eyes, full hearts...


#1 - Tim Riggins

Riggins was a real American hero. All he wanted was a bottle of beer, a pick-up truck, and an occasional game of football, but he had to deal with far more than he wished. His best friend was paralysed, on and off relationships with the majority of the women in Dillon, and a love/hate relationship with his brother Billy, Tim was involved in every aspect of Friday Night Lights, and he was one hell of a full-back too. Ultimately he sacrificed his freedom to keep his brother's family together. Texas forever.



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