Friday Night Lights has never really been primarily about football, even though football is the glue that holds the show together. And season four's finale exemplified how well the show's writers have incorporated compelling storylines around what happens on Friday nights. Tami, taking after her husband, stubbornly refused to deliver an apology that the school board and community members—outraged over her alleged role in Becky's abortion—demanded because she never instructed Becky to have an abortion and did not do anything wrong.
Tim Riggins, in a Sydney Carton-esque moment, heroically decides to take the fall for the "chop-shop" business because he realizes that if he and his brother both go to jail, his nephew would be fatherless just like the Riggins brothers were. Julie tells Matt that she needs to find "her Chicago" and can't take the plane ticket to Chicago that Matt bought her.
Yet, the finale was obviously also, in many ways, about football. And in the finale, Coach Taylor's Lions improbably beat the Dillon Panthers. I didn't think East Dillon would beat the Panthers. For one, the writers have surprised us time and time again by refusing to give us conventional, uplifting resolutions to storylines. With all the struggles that East Dillon's characters have gone through this season, I more than expected their struggles to continue with a devastating loss. It would have been fitting. But when Landry Clarke kicked an improbably long field goal in between the uprights to secure the victory for the Lions, one could just sense how football, especially in crazed towns like Dillon, can unite, uplift, and help residents heal from whatever emotional wounds life has inflicted on them.