Episode PremiereOctober 17, 2006
Show Period2006 - 2011
Production CompanyNBC Universal, Imagine, UMS, Film 44, 101 Network
Cast and Crew
- Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor
- Connie Britton
- Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen
- Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor
- Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke
- Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette
- Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins
- Scott Porter as Jason Street
- Minka Kelly as Lyla Garrity
- Gaius Charles
- Megan Moser
- L. Christian Mixon
- Walter Perez
- Aldis Hodge
The game against South Milbank gets underway, and Matt takes the first snap with Jason cheering him on from his hospital bed. Matt gets a pass off and the Panthers take it to the ten-yard line, but the ball turns over to the Rattlers. It only gets worse from there, and no amount of yelling from Coach Taylor can get his team together. Matt almost saves the game when he makes a touchdown run, but he comes up inches short of the goal line, making this Dillon's first loss to South Milbank in 17 years.
Tim Riggins's hard-ass father lectures his son on losing the game, but he's interrupted by Lyla, who is there to tell Tim that Jason is asking for him. Tim refuses to come to the door.
Jason finishes his physical therapy for the day as Lyla walks in with more flowers. She's excited about tomorrow's pancake supper to benefit the cost of sending him to a rehabilitation facility, but he's less than enthusiastic, especially when she says that he'll "get his legs back" there. Their visit ends in suffering and confusion when his catheter comes out and the nurse has to step in and ask Lyla to leave.
Jason's mom finds Tim sitting in his car outside a convenience store. It's an awkward moment when she says he should come around the hospital and asks if he's coming to the pancake supper. His "yes" response is less than convincing.
Coach Taylor and his daughter Julie are trying to eat dinner at a fast food place when a gruff man tells him that he has a "problem." There's menace in the man's voice as he accuses Taylor of "pissing away" the football team and losing the game to South Millbank. He warns Taylor that things are going to get unpleasant around town for him and his family.
While the team balks at all the wind sprints that Taylor has them do, and as Smash announces that they all know who the weak link is, something worse is going down in the stands. Buddy Garrity tells Deeds, the team's scout, that a teen displaced by Hurricane Katrina named Ray Tatum would make an excellent replacement for Matt Saracen, but that other schools are about to grab him up and that Dillon needs to step in to get him first.
Before the pancake supper, Lyla's mom tells her daughter that she may be spending too much time with Jason, that maybe she needs to talk to someone to help her come to grips with the reality that Jason will never walk again. Lyla refuses to have any of that.
The whole town is out for the pancake supper benefit. Matt tries to bring Julie some soy sausages, but she sends him away, leaving the beaten-down quarterback at a total loss for words. At another table, Buddy hypes up Tatum, and Taylor reluctantly agrees to look at the tapes as people mutter around him that his team is a loser.
When Tyra can't find Riggins, she leaves the dinner, tracking him down outside where he's drinking beers and hitting cans with a golf club. She throws it in his face that he hasn't visited Jason, but he doesn't care. He doesn't care about anything, and they break up on the spot. The Riggins's magic continues when Lyla asks him to come to a prayer meeting and he responds by asking her, "What are you praying for? For Jay to get a new spine?"
At practice, Coach Taylor yells at Riggins for not giving Tim's response is to take off his helmet and walk off the field. Mac, an assistant coach, tells Taylor that Tim probably thinks he's responsible for Street's injury. Things get more stressful when Buddy pulls Taylor aside to go talk to Tatum. Taylor is reluctant. They're walking a thin line and could be brought up for recruitment violations.
Buddy, Taylor, and Mac pass by another coach when they arrive at Tatum's motel. Buddy offers the Tatum family a new home, the father a new job, and maybe a local fund to help get the family back up on its feet. Buddy also offers Ray a "guaranteed start," but that's where Taylor draws the line. To him, that has to be earned on the field and not in a motel room.
When Smash makes backhanded comments about the team and Coach Taylor on a TV interview, it's the straw that breaks the camel's back. With rumors about Tatum swirling out of control, players walking off the field, and the town turning against him, Taylor orders that the entire team be assembled in the dead of a rainy night.
In the pouring rain, Taylor orders the team to do wind springs up and down a hill, shouting that they have to earn the right to be champions, that champions don't give up, that champions don't complain. Breathless and covered in mud, the team awaits their next order until Smash, in measured tones, proclaims, "Clear eyes, full heart..." "...can't lose!" Matt answers. The team picks up the refrain, shouting it over and over until Smash yells, "Let's go," and they continue up the hill as a team.
Jason finally has it with Lyla and her optimism. "Stop it... stop it" he shouts at her. "My legs are not going to get better... ever." He tries to get it through that her visits are killing him inside every day as they only serve to remind him that his life as knew it, and wanted it to be, is over. He's not playing football again, he's not going to Notre Dame, and they're not getting married. He demands that she turn around and leave. In tears, Lyla pauses at the door to tell him that she'll be there tomorrow when they transfer him to the rehab facility.
In the rain, Taylor pulls Tim Riggins aside to tell him that Jason Street's accident was not his fault and that he has to get that through his head. "Yes, sir," Tim says through crying eyes. But Taylor tells him that if he ever walks off the field again, he's off the team, and that he still owes the Panthers a practice. "You walk home, and we'll call it even." As the bus pulls away, Riggins begins his walk home in the rain.
Driving home from the hospital, Lyla finds Riggins walking home and pulls over. When he refuses to accept a ride, she gets out of the car and confronts him about never visiting his best friend in the hospital. She slaps him across the face, shouting, "He's never going to walk again." She breaks down into uncontrollable sobs and clutches at him in an awkward embrace. He pulls her closer and her screams melt into a kiss... and then another.
The next day, the Street family wonders where Lyla is as Jason is taken from his hospital bed to move to the rehabilitation center. Lyla finally arrives. Jason apologizes for what he said the night before, "You know I didn't mean it... I love you." Lyla leans in, softly saying, "I love you, too," but it's apparent that something has been irredeemably broken.
The sun shines down on a revitalized Panthers. For the first time since the accident, they look alive during their practice. But their energy dies as they look over to spy Buddy Garrity arriving with a brooding Ray Tatum, the team's newest member. Tatum levels a cool, dark stare at the unwelcoming, impassive faces of the Dillon Panthers.