1. Was all about the primacy of family—both natural families and those formed by necessity and circumstances.

2. Was very hard on Dillon—the small town, the place. The evil oligarchs who really run the town decided to consolidate the two football teams (of the two high schools) into one incredibly well-funded and talent-laden team. They offered the COACH (Eric Taylor) the job of coaching this team.

3. Previously, of course, they had fired him from being the corch of the Dillon Panthers and sent him to the seemingly impossible task of coaching the new team at underclass East Dillon. It takes him just two years to make greatness out of almost nothing. Not surprisingly, he’s more proud of this team than any other (and, although he has the class never to say it, more proud of the job he’s done there—which has made him a national legend).

4. So he turns down the new job as destroying the family that is his East Dillon team (and as forcing all but his most talented players out of football—their salvation). It’s also no challenge to win “state” with all those advantages. Any coach could do it. Thank God he finally stood up to those jerks who had been pushing him around for years. Even Buddy Garrity, who had evolved over the years to East Dillon’s biggest booster, had been corrupted by those evildoers once again.

5. The COACH leaves Dillon (because the town leaders have left him nothing there) and follows his wife to Philadephia—where she can fulfill her ambitions at an elite college. It’s pretty clear, immediately, that Philly and college and far more her kind of place. And we see the COACH taking on the challenge of rebuidling an urban Philly team, and he’s confident, of course, that is talent and virtue will succeed in their transformative ways once again.

6. We see the Riggins brothers (warriors with big hearts but no prudence or book learning from the very wrong side of town) saying “Texas forever” and staying around in Dillon as a family. But they have absolutely no prospects, and the town isn’t about helping them.

7. So life is all about family, families can be families anywhere. The coach goes to Philly, in large part, for his family, and they readily leave Dillon behind. Others do too. The family that is the team is viewed with indifference by the town. And anyone with brains and talents has to get out of Dillon, because there’s nothing for them (even the COACH) to do there. Not a Porcher message . . .

Articles by Peter Lawler

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