Show creator Peter Berg wasted no time introducing viewers to the fictional, football-obsessed town of Dillon, Texas, starting off with a pilot episode that felt like nothing before on primetime TV and that ended with a shocking climax that felt more like a season cliffhanger than the very beginning of a TV series. As the show opens, Dillon High's quietly principled new head football coach Eric Taylor is seen handling the pressure placed on him to produce a stellar season helmed by the team's and the town's golden boy, quarterback Jason Street. Jason's shocking hit near the end of the episode, resulting in the permanent paralysis of his legs, sets the events of season 1 into motion.
Other main characters introduced in the first season include Coach's wife Tami Taylor and their daughter Julie; Matt Saracen, the freshman faced with the task of filling Jason Street's shoes; Tim Riggins, the bad boy running back who falls for Street's girlfriend Lyla Garrity; Tyra Collette, Tim's on-again, off-again girlfriend facing her own challenges both in and out of school; Landry Clarke, Matt's best friend; and Buddy Garrity, Lyla's father and a hardcore Panthers booster.
Season 1 ends with the Panthers pulling out a victory at state with Matt as quarterback , while rumors abound regarding Coach's having taken an assistant coaching job at Texas Methodist University. Meanwhile, Tami discovers that she is pregnant.