Friday Night Lights' Coach Taylor was inspired by Bill Belichick
Clear eyes, full hearts, three Super Bowls. That, apparently, was the guide for actor Kyle Chandler's hugely popular "Coach Taylor" character on the Friday Night Lights TV show.
Chandler, who portrayed Eric Taylor as a high school football coach in the fictional town of Dillon, Tex., from 2006-11, told The Hollywood Reporter that since he wasn't much of a sports fan, he turned to a biography of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for inspiration on the role. Belichick had won three Super Bowls by 2004, two years before FNL went on air. He added another last month when the Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
The irony, of course, is that Chandler had reservations about taking the Coach Taylor role. "Billy Bob [Thornton] played the original coach [in the 2004 movie], and I thought, 'I'm not old enough, I don't have that,'" he says. Plus, he wasn't exactly a sports buff, much less an athlete. "He's not that guy who's going to sit down on Sunday and watch eight hours of football," says Taylor Kitsch (who played FNL's Tim Riggins), with whom he bonded during long motorcycle rides. Chandler found inspiration in a biography of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick but acknowledges: "I couldn't coach my way out of a paper bag." (He's still asked to speak to coaches and teams and politely declines.)
So there you have it, Internet. Coach T won't be attending your events.
He also won't be returning with the rest of Dillon for a movie, THR reports.
Though Chandler speaks affectionately about his time on FNL and has remained tight with Britton and Kitsch, it was he who hit the brakes on a movie follow-up. Katims had taken a pass at a script, and Netflix is said to be the last place that tried to make it happen, but Chandler acknowledges he's not interested. "The show ended perfectly," he says. "It was five seasons, it was really good, and I just didn't see a movie."
- Mike Fiammetta