The 9 Best ‘Friday Night Lights’ Episodes

Over the course of five seasons, Friday Night Lights proved that it was more than a show about a high school football team from Texas. The series included impressive performances from a future all-star cast, including Michael B. Jordan, Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch, and Kyle Chandler. While they are difficult to rank, here is a look at the nine best Friday Night Lights episodes.

The pilot

There is no denying that Friday Night Lights started with a bang. Between the sounds of Explosions in the Sky to Jason’s injury and Coach Taylor’s motivational speech, there were few things lacking in this emotional series opener. The pilot also set the tone for the remainder of the show and proved that this was a story that went beyond the confines of the football field.

Wind Sprints

Following a shameful loss for the Panthers, Coach Taylor decided some late-night wind sprints were in order. The team may have languished in the muddy fields that night, but Taylor taught them a lesson about life as well. As long as they stayed together as a team, they could face any obstacle life throws their way. The emotional punch, of course, happened when Taylor assured Tim that he was not responsible for Jason’s injury.


In this episode of Friday Night Lights, Jason finally returns to the football field after his injury in the pilot and it is hard to forget how the crowd welcomed him home. The entire stadium cheered for Jason as he made his way onto the field in a wheelchair, and we have to admit that it was hard holding back the tears on this one.


According to USA Today, Tami and Eric’s marriage was the centerpiece of the series, though they never had one episode that captured their epic romance in all of its glory. But the time when Tami revealed she was pregnant really stands out above the rest. Tami’s big reveal was made even more suspenseful because the team was headed to state and a victory was a great way to tie everything together.

May the Best Man Win

It was heartbreaking to watch Smash lose a chance to attend TMU after his involvement in a movie theater fight on Friday Night Lights. Although it looked like his dreams to play football in college were over, Whitmore College offered him a scholarship. It was even more touching after Smash thanked Coach Taylor for the support and told his mom that he was finally going to college.

Leave No One Behind

It is hard to compete with Tim Riggins for the title of the most broken character on the show, unless you count a drunk and distressed Matt Saracen. In this emotional episode, there is a scene where coach puts Saracen in the shower in an attempt to get him sober. At one point, Saracen completely breaks down and Taylor assures him that there is nothing wrong.

I Can’t

There were a lot of intense moments in Season 4 of Friday Night Lights, but few top Vince’s breakdown in the hospital with his mom. Michael B. Jordan gives an incredibly emotional performance as his character’s mom is recovering in the hospital after an overdose. At one point in their heartbreaking conversation, Vince asks his mom why she would ever want to leave him before telling her he cannot live without her.


Tim Riggins always got a bad rap for being the show’s troubled anti-hero. To be fair, most of the criticisms and character flaws were his own fault, but he got some measure of redemption in the Season 4 finale. When the cops busted his brother’s chop shop, Tim stepped in and took credit for the illegal operation. The touching move ensured that his brother’s baby would not grow up without a father around.

The Son

This Season 4 episode of Friday Nights Lights is usually hailed as one of the best of the series. Once again, Zach Gilford gives an amazing performance as Matt Saracen, who is dealing with the news that his father was killed in Iraq. The entire episodes is an emotional rollercoaster and ends with Matt and his friends attending his father’s funeral. By the end, Matt has come to terms with his father’s passing and understands exactly what his sacrifice meant.