We Texans have all heard the phrase "Friday Night Lights" many times over. Have you ever wondered where it comes from? Friday nights don't just signal the end of the workweek; they are also huge events that center around high school football here in Texas.

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High school stadiums across the state light up on Friday nights in the fall. For many, this is what they've been waiting for all week. But how did this simple phrase capture the essence of a Texas tradition? A report from WFTV9 pointed me in the right direction.


American football referee on field, rear view
Photo: Darrin Klimek/Getty Images

The term "Friday Night Lights" exploded into pop culture thanks to a book. In 1990, an author named H.G. Bissinger published Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream. It centers on a high school football team from Odessa, Texas, and shows the importance of these Friday night games, not just to the players, but to the whole community.

The book was such a smash hit that it was adapted into a 2004 movie. Billy Bob Thornton played the coach of the Permian High School football team. A television series also came out in 2006 and ran until 2011. Even though the series was set in a fictional Texas town, the message stayed the same: Friday night football games are a huge deal in Texas.

American football player concept
Photo: Darko Novakovic/Getty Images

The term "Friday Night Lights" has become code for the importance of high school football in Texas. It’s more than just a game. It’s a community gathering and a spotlight on young athletes. As those stadium lights shine bright, they light up not just a field but a tradition and a passion.

The next time you hear the words "Friday Night Lights," know that it's not just about football or a stand of stadium lights. It's a term that represents soul and spirit, and in Texas, it means everything.

If you're into high school football, you're no stranger to stadiums. Texas has some of the biggest and most elaborate ones around.

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There's a reason every good high school football movie is based in Texas. Here in the Lone Star State Friday nights are revered and our young men in football pads exalted to legends in their hometowns. In fact as of last year, Texas is only second to Florida (by two players) as the state with the most players in the NFL.

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