The Untold Truth Of Friday Night Lights

"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Friday Night Lights fans are familiar with the mantra of the former NBC show starring Coach Taylor and his wife Tami. The extended cast of characters made the drama a cult favorite. Now that it's available on Amazon Video for both new and old fans to binge watch, it's time to learn the untold truth of Friday Night Lights. There's so much to this show you never knew.

Taylor Kitsch wasn't sober for his Riggins audition

Turns out Taylor Kitsch, who played resident bad boy Tim Riggins, had a couple beers during his audition for the show. In June 2013, FNL cast members reunited for a screening of the season 1 finale. The reunion brought plenty of laughs and surprises, including a revelation by Scott Porter, who played Jason Street on the show.

Porter shared the story of Kitsch's audition: "The camera turns on and you just see a leg.Then you see Kitsch sit back in a chair and he just looks into the camera. There's a tall-boy next to him and he reaches down, grabs it, puts it on one leg, cracks it open with one hand, drinks the whole tall-boy, puts it down, grabs the second one, cracks it open with one hand and goes [in Canadian accent] 'This is Taylor Kitsch, reading for Riggins.' And then he begins the scene by the pool where he says 'Texas forever' for the first time," (via Entertainment Weekly).

The show's creators wanted Kitsch to read for the role of Street, but Kitsch thought he could portray Riggins more authentically. We definitely have to agree with that!

Minka Kelly, who originally wanted the role of Tyra, is a former nurse

Minka Kelly ended up getting the part of good girl Lyla Garrity after producers told her she was better as the sweeter one. It seemed meant to be when executive producer Peter Berg asked Kelly to read her lines as if she was on heroin, but she confused the drug with cocaine.

Kelly also seemed destined to be do-gooder Lyla. She worked as a former nurse in Los Angeles so she could survive while chasing her modeling dreams. She was a receptionist at a doctor's office and befriended a scrub nurse there because she enjoyed the surgery and it didn't make her feel sick. Kelly said, "I learned that going to school to be a scrub nurse was just over a year. ... I became a surgical technician, a scrub nurse... I worked a six-month externship at California Hospital," (via Star).

The role of Tyra was originally offered to Lindsay Lohan

The role of Tyra Collette, which ended up going to Adrianne Palicki, was offered to Lindsay Lohan. Yes, you read that correctly. Uproxx reported that the troubled actress ended up declining the role. The reason for the unlikely choice was that a decade ago, Lohan had just come off movies like Mean Girls and was the actress everyone wanted. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise that Lohan turned down Tyra, as shortly thereafter she began getting into trouble for drugs and alcohol.

There was supposed to be a big Coach-Tami sex scene, but nerves got in the way

In just the second episode of the first season, the Taylors had a big sex scene that writers had in the opening scenes. Connie Britton admitted on What What Happens Live that Chandler was uncomfortable with it so it ended up being cut out of the show. "Truthfully Kyle would get really embarrassed whenever we had to do any kissing at all... We never had a sex scene again for the rest of the history of Friday Night Lights," she said (via Cosmopolitan).

Connie Britton took her role on—with conditions

When Britton was offered the role of Tami Taylor, she reportedly said she'd take it with some exceptions. Executive producer Berg told Grantland Britton's role was "sort of Pretty Wife Clapping in the Stands, which is about the shittiest job an actress can have."

Britton initially resisted the offer, saying "The only thing worse than playing a nothing part in a movie is playing it for years and years on TV."

Berg added that Britton told him, "You think I'm going to spend 10 years sitting on a hard-wood bleacher getting splinters in my ass and cheering on Kyle Chandler? You're out of your mind." He promised her a true character with dimension and a real voice. We'd say he succeeded!

Mitt Romney got busted for using the show's catchphrase

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney used a very important phrase as the central slogan of his campaign in 2012—a phrase so sacred among fans and those involved in the show that he got in serious trouble for using it.

The ubiquitious "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" was used by Romney on posters, in speeches and on his Facebook page. The Washington Post reported that Berg sent a letter to the Romney campaign in October 2012 saying that Romney "plagiarized the expression" and advised him to come up with his own slogan.

Later that same month, Britton and executive producer Sarah Aubrey penned an op-ed in USA Today about the issue. They wrote, "So as women, let's take "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts" back and use it as it was always intended — as a motivator for progress, power, and greatness. Let's use our clear eyes and full hearts to vote early. Let's use our clear eyes and full hearts to tell every friend, family member and neighbor about what's at stake for women in this election. What's at stake for all of us."

Friday Night Lights wasn't the first time execs tried to make it a series

NBC had tried to get the rights to Buzz Bissinger's book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream immediately after it was released in the late '80s. According to Grantland, NBC couldn't buy them because movie rights ended up being sold first. So, the network ended up airing an unofficial adaptation called Against the Grain in 1993. Interestingly enough, the show, which only lasted eight episodes and starred Ben Affleck, pre-Good Will Hunting days.

The show was actually shot on location

Friday Night Lights was shot entirely in Austin, which added to its authenticity. The blog Cookies & Sangria's author went to Austin, Texas and documented her experience, including visiting just about every location used in the show. The locations were so authentic that the Riggins house was so gross it was full of mold. Taylor Kitsch told Grantland: "It reeked. There was mold. The pool was filled with sludge." Kitsch ended up getting sick and a doctor was reportedly called in and told the cast they shouldn't be shooting in the house. Yikes!

Audiences were not happy with season 2's murder plot

Season 2's murder plot, where (spoiler alert) Landry murders a man who tried to rape Tyra, was met with a lot of scrutiny. Co-writer Kerry Ehrin told Entertainment Weekly she thought a lot of the reaction was that people felt NBC had wanted it. "There was a sense of like a political thing... like, they were like, 'oh make it more network-y.' It could not have been farther from the truth."

Time called it "The Landry thing. That Bad Thing. That awful, out of nowhere, suddenly-we-ware-watching-a-different-show thing where Landry attacked a man who had tried to rape Tyra, and killed him with a metal pipe. That thing that FNL fans laugh about in retrospect, or try to hurry past."

Although Cinema Blend said the murder plot will never be one of FNL's best, the show ended up recovering and becoming a cult favorite.

After they filmed the series finale, the cast actually played football

In a fitting end to Friday Night Lights, after the cast and crew finished their final shots, they reportedly opened some beers and headed to Austin honkytonk Midnight Rodeo (which has since closed). Around 2 a.m., remaining cast and crew decided to go to a football field and they ended up playing a game of flag football.

Jesse Plemons, who played Landry on the show told Gartland, "It was so perfect. You didn't think about it at the time, but it was just so perfect."