During the 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney used the phrase "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" in one of his stump speeches. Peter Berg, one of the show's writers, directors, and executive producers, responded in an open letter that Romney had "plagiarized" the phrase and that his "politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series. The only relevant comparison that I see between [the Romney] campaign and Friday Night Lights is in the character of Buddy Garrity -- who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan." Berg finished his open letter to Romney by saying "please come up with your own campaign slogan."
Donald Glover drew inspiration from Smash Williams for his character on Community (2009). "When you think of the former high school football star, you think 6-foot-2, white, meathead as the model for that kind of character. Since I'm not 6-foot-2 or white, I just thought about what I could bring to it. I thought about Smash Williams from 'Friday Night Lights', like the cocky quarterback, and played around with that".
The strip club in Dillon is called The Landing Strip which is the same name of the strip club that some of the players went to the night before a game in the movie Varsity Blues (1999) a movie about a Texas football town.
Kyle Chandler worked as a volunteer firefighter while filming the series. He worked 24 hours a week at his local firehouse without telling the cast and crew. In 2011, he taped two local PSAs urging viewers to become volunteer firefighters.
Tom Arnold helped save the series from cancellation after its second season. He reportedly single-handedly arranged a dinner that would set the groundwork for DirecTV and NBC to partner together for future plans pertaining to show's airtime.
Zach Gilford was working at a sporting goods store when he was cast as Matt Saracen. Gilford and one other actor were up for the part of Saracen: the other actor was double-booked to audition for a made-for-TV Disney movie, so director Peter Berg gave the part to Gilford.
Taylor Kitsch drank two beers in his audition tape for Tim Riggins. He finished one tallboy, then opened a second one before introducing himself in his video and doing the "Texas Forever" scene. When he was called in to test, Berg interviewed him sports reporter-style.
There were no rehearsals for Friday Night Lights (2006) and for each scene, three cameras operators simultaneously followed the cast (who were given body mics) wherever they wandered off to, as opposed to standard TV production where the actors are given marks for where to sit or stand. There were some problems that arose from this, one being that NBC president Kevin Reilly told producers to cut back on the "jiggly" camera style after the pilot.
Male lead, Kyle Chandler, formerly played an aspiring Country singer/songwriter named Buddy (1992 - Pure Country), while the female lead, Connie Britton, went on to play a Country Superstar in the TV show Nashville.
Not all of the actors could play football. Gaius Charles, who played Brian "Smash" Williams, wasn't a very skilled football player. But Michael B. Jordan, who played Vince Howard, was known for having great quarterbacking skills. Taylor Kitsch had played hockey for 20 years before starring on the show, and was also a noted athlete.
Minka Kelly was working in a plastic surgery clinic when she was cast as Lyla Garrity. As a way to make ends meet, she worked as a scrub nurse in which she prepared women for their lip and breast implants in between her auditions.
The uniforms and some football footage were taken (mixed with the taped footage to create the game action) from the Pflugerville Panthers, with one real-life Pflugerville player claiming the show to be a "huge distraction" when he was interviewed during the first season. He also said that a senior pep rally had to be canceled because of the show's shooting schedule.
The show "Parenthood" featured several "Friday Night Lights" alumni. Matt Lauria, Michael B. Jordan, Minka Kelly and Scott Porter. Porter was only seen in the series finale as the husband of Mae Whitman's character. Lauria was her fiance earlier in the series. And both Porter and Lauria were in the finale scenes together.
In s05 e10, the interior rim of Coach Taylor's hat is inscribed with the letters KMC. Kyle Martin Chandler plays Coach Taylor. The initials were clearly for the props crew to keep Chandlers hat separate from others.
Friday Night Lights (2006) was filmed in Austin, making it the first time a television series has been shot in Texas's capital city since Real World (1992) paid a visit in 2005. Producers rented homes around Austin for filming, and used the nearby Pflugerville High School's football field for many of the big game scenes.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In 2003, while "Friday Night Lights creator and executive producer Peter Berg was still doing research for the previous movie version of Buzz Bissinger's book, he attended a high school football game between San Antonio Madison High School and Westlake High School in which David Edwards, a 15-year-old defensive back for Madison, was paralyzed after a collision with a Westlake receiver. Berg took that incident as the inspiration for Jason Street's storyline in the TV series. David Edwards, who after his injury became a motivational speaker, died in 2008 of pneumonia, three days shy of his 21st birthday.
Jesse Plemons (Landry), Kevin Rankin (Herc), and Emily Rios (Epyck) all appear in Breaking Bad. Rankin and Plemons play cousins in BB. Plemons character in FNL kills someone. Plemons character in BB kills Emily Rios' character.