'Friday Night Lights' fails to enlighten me

October 22, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Have you seen NBC's "Friday Night Lights" yet?

I finally rewound the tape in my VCR that had been set to record the initial shows, which air on Tuesday nights.

I'm one of millions of guys who have played high school football under the lights on Friday night, and often on Saturdays, too. At our school, football was king and no other sport would ever overtake that lofty position.

I read H.G. Bissinger's book when it first came out. In a nutshell, he depicted the Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas, one of the winningest teams in Texas. Odessa was a town that endured unemployment issues and high murder rates. It was also a town that was totally engulfed with its football every fall as its socially and racially divided people came together.


I got through the season premiere of the TV version with somewhat of a question mark in my mind. What exactly was I supposed to be following - a new show that was going to engage us with about 10 different plots or a show with absolutely no plot at all?

After getting some goodies out from the kitchen, I delved into the second program.

Head coach Eric Taylor, portrayed by star Kyle Chandler, expects his players to play hard. Isn't that the goal of every coach?

I didn't see anything in the second show that made me think this was anything special from NBC. Star players being chased by the girls, serious injuries on the field and school rallies are all the things that go on everywhere where football really means something.

When I played, we had pep rallies in the school gymnasium in the last period every Friday, even if it were for a Saturday game. And it didn't make any difference if the game was at home or on the road.

I didn't see anything special that would warrant me tuning in on any given Tuesday night. And that means I took my timing off my VCR for future recordings of the show.

It wouldn't bother me at all if NBC dimmed "Friday Night Lights."

With the first Bowl Championship Series rankings out this week, are you going to root for two unbeaten teams to be at the top of the heap?

Ohio State, Southern Cal and Michigan are the top three in the point system and head-and-shoulders above the rest, and we know there will only be two when Ohio State knocks off Michigan to conclude the regular season.

How's this for a scenario, one the BCS doesn't want but could get anyway?

Ohio State and USC are unbeaten, and the winner of the West Virginia-Louisville game is unbeaten. That means an unbeaten team from a BCS conference could be left out of the national title game.

Sorry, West Virginia fans, even Auburn has a higher ranking than the Mountaineers. You gotta learn to quit playing powder puffs, except for Louisville.

In my many years of watching football on any level, whether in person, live on television or through endless highlights, never have I seen a more gruesome display of unsportsmanlike conduct than that of Miami and Florida International.

The suspensions from each school were absolutely necessary, but I totally disagree with the punishment that was handed out.

Thirty-one players were given "sentences" from their schools - 28 for one game, the other three indefinitely.

As far as I am concerned, that's a slap on the wrist despite the warnings that have come from the colleges about future conduct.

I firmly believe that all 31 players should be suspended for the remainder of the season, no questions asked except for this one: Is that how you want your son to behave on the football field?

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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