Coach Eric Taylor / Kyle Chandler (All Seasons) More than just a high school football coach, Coach Taylor and his wife Tami serve as a the moral center of the show, along with having one of the best, if not the best, most genuinely loving marriages in TV history.
Tami Taylor / Connie Britton (All Seasons) Tami is an individual of rare convictions who, like her husband, refuses to sacrifice principle for political convenience. As often (rightly) noted, she and Eric share one of TV's most memorable marriages.
Julie Taylor / Aimee Teegarden (All Seasons) Julie grows from a smart, tough high school freshman to a troubled college freshman, yet, despite breakups, upheavals and physical separation, she and Matt always find their way back to each other.
Tim Riggins / Taylor Kitsch (All Seasons) Legendary bad boy and the Panthers one-time star running back, Riggins takes the fall for his brother Billy and serves time. Still, prison never breaks his biggest dream: owning his own small piece of Texas.
Matt Saracen / Zach Gilford (All Seasons) QB1 for the Panthers after Jason Street's tragic accident, Matt shoulders a lot of responsibility with his grandma. Eventually, he makes it to art school in Chicago, where Julie finally catches up with him.
Landry Clarke / Jesse Plemons (All Seasons) Perpetually heartbroken, first by Tyra Collette and then by Jess Merriweather, Landry is the brain who eventually proves to be a talented kicker.
Buddy Garrity / Brad Leland (All Seasons) Initially the model of a blowhard football obsessive, Lyla Garrity's father Buddy eventually proves himself to be all heart and a willing champion and friend of Coach Taylor, regardless of the team he leads.
Jason Street / Scott Porter (Seasons 1, 2, 3 and guest appearance in 5) The Panther's initial golden boy, Jason's tragic accident in the pilot episode set the level of quality to which the show was determined to bring network television.
Lyla Garrity (Seasons 1, 2, 3 and guest appearance in 4) Star cheerleader and girlfriend of the town's star quarterback, Lyla grapples with tough realities after Jason Street's accident and her parents' divorce, forcing her to confront her own capacity for betrayal.
Tyra Collette / Adrianne Palicki (Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 5) Originally the show's bad girl, Tyra manages to turn her life around and get herself out of town to college, with the help of a very patient Tami Taylor and an ever hopeful Landry Clarke.
Brian "Smash" Williams / Gaius Charles (Seasons 1, 2, and 3) Prodigiously talented yet impulsive, Smash overcomes scandal and personal injury to achieve collegiate stardom at Texas A&M.
Lorraine Saracen / Louanne Stephens (Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 and guest appearance in 5) Matt Saracen's sweet and loving grandma, Lorraine, embodies Matt's conflict between his responsibilities in Dillon and his dreams of leaving the town.
Billy Riggins / Derek Phillips (All Seasons) Living in the shadow of his star younger brother Tim, Billy - almost despite himself - eventually manages to find his calling as an assistant coach for the East Dillon Lions.
Mac Macgill / Blue Deckert (All Seasons) The assistant coach who initiated the show's first racial firestorm, Mac starts as Coach Taylor's assistant and then serves under Wade Aikmen before taking over after the Panthers shocking loss to the Lions.
Mindy Collette / Stacey Oristano (All Seasons) Initially a minor character, Mindy moves more front and center after her marriage to Billy at the end of Season 3, before taking Becky under her wing in Season 5.
Slammin' Sammy Mead / David Cowgill (All Seasons) Never seen, only ever heard, Slammin' Sammy Mead serves as the show's Greek chorus and the constant voice of Dillon's football obsession. As a result, he is a constant thorn in Coach Taylor's side.
Coach Crowley / Timothy Crowley (All Seasons) A man of strong convictions like Coach Taylor, he's one of the handful of Dillon Panther coaches who makes the move to East Dillon with Coach Taylor.
Coach Spivey / Aaron Spivey-Sorrells (All Seasons) Quiet but effective, Coach Spivey is also one of the few coaches to make the jump from Dillon to East Dillon after Coach Taylor is fired from coaching the Panthers.
Mayor Lucy Rodell / Libby Villari (Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4) An ardent Panthers booster. As Buddy tells Coach, the mayor "plays for the other team," but this does not preclude her and Buddy having a romantic history - the details of which Coach is happy to remain uninformed.
Angela Collette / Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4) Mindy and Tyra's mother is hired as Buddy's secretary at the car dealership, putting in motion a whole unfortunate series of events culminating in the end of Buddy's marriage.
Corrina Williams / Liz Mikel (Seasons 1,2 and 3) The moral steel behind her son, Brian, better known as Smash, Corrina Williams supports her son but does her best to prevent him from compromising or taking short cuts to his dreams.
Herc / Kevin Rankin (Seasons 1, 2 and 3) Jason Street's roommate when he goes to rehab for his paraplegia, Herc talks tough, which at first annoys the heck out of Street but eventually leads to a close friendship between them.
Waverly Grady / Aasha Davis (Season 1) The depiction of Smash's troubled bipolar girlfriend earned the writers and producer's of the show a Voice Award for "giving (dignified) voice to a character with behavioral health problems."
Suzy Quinlan / Alexandra Holden (Season 1) A fragile detente between Jason and Lyla is shattered when Lyla catches Jason making out in a car with Suzy, a tattoo artist whom he originally met at a party.
Walt Riggins / Brett Cullen (Season 1) Billy and Tim's golf-hustling father is a never-do-well who apparently just lacks the inner fortitude to be a real father to his kids. That said, he was played to a T by Brett Cullen.
Ray "Voodoo" Tatum / Aldis Hodge (Season 1) "Voodoo" is a football star displaced by Hurricane Katrina, whom Buddy essentially strong-arms Coach Taylor into taking onto the Panthers, before his illegal recruitment is discovered.
Bobby "Bull" Reyes / Walter Perez (Season 1) Bobby Reyes' brutal assault on a student after getting insulted by Ray "Voodoo" Tatum leads to a firestorm for the Panthers in Season 1.
Jackie Miller / Brooke Langton (Seasons 1 and 2) The single mother that lives next door to the Riggins brothers. After Tim befriends her son Bo, she and Tim become lovers briefly. When Billy starts to date Jackie, the fight between the brothers finally forces Tim to move out of the house.
Bo Miller / Jae Head (Season 1) Only child of single mother Jackie Miller, the Riggins brothers' neighbor, it's Tim's friendship with Bo that first leads to Jackie and Tim's involvement.
Henry Saracen / Brent Smiga (Seasons 1 and 4) Matt's complicated relationship with his father, who has left Matt responsible for his grandmother while Henry fights in Iraq, is brought to a climax when he's killed and Matt is forced to deliver his eulogy.
Glenn Reed / Steven Walters (Seasons 2, 3 and 4) The science teacher that replaced Tammy as Dillon's school counselor, Glenn made his feelings for Tami clear with an awkward, drunken kiss after a teacher's afterschool gathering at a local bar.
Chad Clarke / Glenn Morshower (Season 2) Landry Clarke's dad, a dedicated lawman, battles with his conscience over helping his son avoid the fallout from Landry's killing of Tyra's stalker in Season 2.
Chris Kennedy / Matt Czuchry (Season 2) The good Christian radio host that bad boy Riggins contends with in Season 2 for Lyla's affection.
Santiago Herrera / Piscean Maze (Season 2) The kid from "juvy" that Riggins takes under his wing and Buddy takes into his home, who becomes a Panthers football star in Season 2.
Carlotta Alonso / Daniella Alonso (Season 2) Grandma Saracen's live-in nurse and an eventual love interest for Matt. When he decides he's in love with her and dumps his cheerleader girlfriend for her, Carlotta tells him she has to return to her family in Guatemala.
Jean Binnel / Brea Grant (Season 2) The girl that Landry pursues after Tyra breaks up with him, Jean never really stands a chance since Landry remains fully obsessed with Tyra. Jean for her part accuses Tyra of just toying with Landry's affections.
Shelley Hayes / Jessalyn Gilsig (Season 2) Tami's sister, Shelley comes to live with the Taylors while she is getting back on her feet - much to the grumbling chagrin of Coach Taylor.
The Swede / Alejandro Rose-Garcia (Season 2) The Swede, played by someone whose name makes it clear he is anything but Swedish, is the fellow lifeguard with whom Julie briefly becomes enamored at the beginning of Season 2.
Lauren Davis / Kim Smith (Season 2) The cheerleader that Matt Saracen starts dating before he realizes that he's actually in love with his grandma's live-in nurse, Carlotta.
Coach MacGregor / Chris Mulkey (Season 2) Coach MacGregor is brought in to replace Coach Taylor when he goes to TMU. Feeling disrespected by MacGregor, Buddy succeeds in getting him ousted and Coach Taylor back on the job. But MacGregor refuses to go down without a fight.
Noelle Davenport / Jana Kramer (Season 2) The sister of a former Panthers player, Noelle offers guidance to Smash as he navigates the world of college football recruiting, but their blossoming romance causes racial tensions and eventual trouble for Smash.
Morris "Mo" McArnold / Peter Berg (Season 2) In the series for just one episode, the show's creator Peter Berg makes an indelible impression as the fast- talking man from whom Coach Taylor - in Mo's eyes - "stole" Tami while they were all still in high school.
Guy Raston / Joel Oglesby (Season 2) In a moment of supreme stupidity, Riggins thinks it might be a good idea to rip off thousands of dollars from his gun-wielding, rodent-loving, meth-dealing roommate. Suffice it to say, it is a very bad move.
J.D. McCoy / Jeremy Sumpter (Seasons 3 and 4) The Panthers' rich and spoiled on-field star quarterback who replaces Matt Saracen, J.D. McCoy has a supremely complicated love-hate relationship with his football- and success-obsessed father.
Joe McCoy / D.W. Moffett (Seasons 3 and 4) Coach Taylor's arch-nemesis in Season 3, Joe McCoy is the living embodiment of the sports-obsessed father who insists that his child be number one, quaint notions like love and honor go hang.
Katie McCoy / Janine Turner (Season 3) J.D.'s genuinely sweet mother, Katie McCoy watches in horror as she realizes how dangerously obsessed her husband Joe has become with their son's success on the field.
Cash / Zach Roerig (Season 3) A bronco-riding cowboy, Cash steals Tyra's affections away from Landry and convinces Tyra to ditch school and travel the rodeo with him. Only then does she discover his drunken, abusive temper.
Shelby Saracen / Kim Dickens (Seasons 3 and 4) Matt and Grandma Saracen initially reject Matt's estranged mother Shelby's attempts to reach out and become a part of Matt's life, but eventually they welcome her into the family, where she works to support Matt's attempts to go to college.
Wade Aikmen / Drew Waters (Seasons 3 and 4) Initially J.D. McCoy's private coach, Wade is hired as a coach for the Panthers by Coach Taylor. In an act of revenge after the Taylors report Joe McCoy to child protective services, Joe successfully maneuvers to have Coach Taylor replaced by Wade.
Devin Boland / Stephanie Hunt (Seasons 3, 4 and guest appearance in Season 5) The bassist for Landry's band, Crucifictorious, Devin starts out as a love interest for Landry, but after she reveals to him that she's gay, she becomes a friend and confidant to both him and Julie.
Erin / Tamara Jolaine (Seasons 2 and 3) Jason meets Erin when she waits his table during a terrible blind date. After a one-night stand, Erin gets pregnant, and Jason becomes vehement about keeping and raising the baby. Eventually, Jason finds a job as a sports agent in New York near her family to prove to Erin his seriousness about marrying her.
Vince Howard / Michael B. Jordan (Seasons 4 and 5) Coach Taylor saves Vince from a trip to "juvy" by taking him on as a member of the East Dillon Lions. Vince proves himself a natural and eventually, despite his struggles with family and personal demons, becomes the team's star quarterback.
Jess Merriweather / Jurnee Smollett (Seasons 4 and 5) The daughter of Big Mary and Landry's girlfriend at East Dillon, Jess dumps Landry when she realizes her heart is really with Vince. A football devotee, she convinces Coach Taylor to take her on as the Lions' equipment manager.
Becky Sproles / Madison Burge (Seasons 4 and 5) Raised by a single mother, Becky befriends Tim Riggins, on whom she has a largely unrequited crush. Tim helps Becky when she discovers she's pregnant, and after being counseled by Tami Taylor, Becky's subsequent abortion leads to Tami's fight to keep her job as principal.
Luke Cafferty / Matt Lauria (Seasons 4 and 5) A star running back for the Panthers, Luke is transferred to East Dillon after redistricting, a source of tension for Tami Taylor as Dillon's principal. Luke and Becky Sproles have a tough start, including her abortion, but eventually find themselves in love.
Dallas Tinker / Lamarcus Tinker (Seasons 4 and 5) Dallas is a dedicated Lion and a good friend to Luke, who trades him his prize pig Maribelle for a chance to have Becky as his personal rally girl.
Principal Burnwell / Troy Hogan (Seasons 4 and 5) East Dillon's principal. Initially skeptical about Coach Taylor's chances to make a successful team, Principal Burnwell is grudgingly enthusiastic when the Lions do well. He also pushes back against Tami's grand plans for East Dillon.
Coach Stan Traub / Russell DeGrazier (Seasons 4 and 5) Occasionally a little too enthusiastic for Coach Taylor's taste, Coach Traub is undoubtedly dedicated and is an ardent supporter of Coach Taylor. Julie spots him at a gay bar, where he refuses to acknowledge her and later denies having been.
Kennard Royce / Cedric Neal (Seasons 4 and 5) Kennard is the thug that Vince teams with to make the money to support his mom's rehab. When he comes calling for the money Vince owes him, Vince's dad goes medieval on him, scaring him permanently away.
Regina Howard / Angela Rawna (Seasons 4 and 5) Vince's initially drug-addicted mom, Regina turns her life around after a near-fatal overdose that leads Vince to put her into rehab.
Margaret Cafferty / Kathleen Griffith (Seasons 4 and 5) Luke Cafferty's extremely religious mother, Margaret - mortified that her son had gotten Becky Sproles pregnant - blames Tami Taylor for causing Becky to get an abortion and tries to get Tami fired as principal.
Tom Cafferty / Barry Tubb (Seasons 4 and 5) A quiet rancher, Tom at first doesn't understand or support Luke's football dreams, but turns around once he sees the success that Luke is enjoying from the sport.
Vernon "Big Mary" Merriweather / Steve Harris (Season 4) Jess' father and the proprietor of Ray's Bar B-Q, Vernon, the star player for the Lions during their long-ago state championship days, is at first cold to Coach Taylor but eventually becomes a strong supporter of the team and Vince Howard.
Cheryl / Alicia Witt (Season 4) After a one-night stand, Cheryl, Becky Sproles' single mother, offers Tim a place to rent in the form of a trailer in her backyard. He moves in and gradually befriends Becky, who imagines herself in love with him.
Calvin Brown / Ernest James (Season 4) The friend of Vince's who gets cut from the Lions the first day of practice, Calvin is also the inspiration for Billy Riggins' car-stripping crimes that lead Tim to jail. Calvin is killed while out on a job with Vince and Kennard.
Hastings Ruckle / Grey Damon (Season 5) The new kid in town and the son of an itinerant oil rig worker, Hastings is a basketball star who considers football stupid and only reluctantly joins the Lions. Nevertheless, he soon proves himself a star receiver.
Ornette Howard / Cress Williams (Season 5) Vince initially refuses to have anything to do with his ex-con dad, Ornette, after his release from prison, but eventually warms to him. Ornette's overly aggressive attempts to get Vince college deals nearly sabotage Vince's chances as the Lion's quarterback.
Buddy Garrity Jr. / Jeff Rosick (Season 5) Hearing that Buddy Jr. is not doing well, Buddy brings his son back from California and tries to help him mature, finally resolving to get him on the East Dillon Lions, which he does.
Epyck / Emily Rios (Season 5) The troubled foster kid at East Dillon that Tami tries, and eventually fails, to help keep from self- destructing.
Laurel Sachs / Lynn Blackburn (Season 5) The one teacher who, despite her initial resistance, eventually decides to help Tami in her quest to offer the students of East Dillon more one-on-one assistance.