In a successful attempt to save the show, which never managed to overcome struggling ratings despite critical accolades and a fiercely loyal fan base, NBC forged a cost-sharing partnership with DirecTV in 2008. Thirteen episodes were ordered which would air first on DirectTV and then, after all 13 episodes had run, later on NBC.
Having failed to lead the Panthers to another state championship, Coach is compelled to replace Matt Saracen with a young star named J.D. McCoy. Coach personally trains a recovering Smash in order to get Smash into Texas A&M. Tyra dates a rodeo cowboy only to discover his abusive side too late. Tim and Lyla date, and Tim successfully pursues a college football scholarship. Billy, Tim, Herc, and Jason decide to flip Buddy Garrity's house for a profit. Jason eventually pursues a job at a sports agency in New York and moves there to be close to his girlfriend Erin and their newborn baby. Tami Taylor becomes the principal of Dillon and fights with Buddy Garrity about the allocation of funds toward a JumboTron.
As the season draws to a close, Coach learns about a plot to have him replaced as head coach, a plot hatched by Joe McCoy as an act of revenge after Tami had reported Joe's abuse of his son to child protective services. J.D.'s personal trainer Wade Aikmen is offered Coach Taylor's job, and Coach Taylor is given the task of restarting the football program at East Dillon, a poor school on the other side of town.