The third season of the American serial drama television series Friday Night Lights began airing in the United States and Canada on October 1, 2008. It was the first season to be aired on DirecTV's The 101 Network. The 13-episode season concluded on The 101 Network on January 14, 2009 and then began its run on NBC two nights later on January 16, 2009. The show was renewed for two more seasons in March 2009, with both seasons airing in the same format as season 3, containing 13 episodes each. The season continued to focus around the Dillon Panthers and the pressures faced on and off the field. This season also saw four main characters leave the show by season's end.
In the third-season opener, Eric fights to keep his job and helps Smash rebound. Elsewhere, Tami faces new challenges as principal; Tyra frets over college; Billy proposes; and tension escalates between Lyla and Riggins.
Tami becomes angry by Tyra's actions. In an effort to help his grandma, Matt stumbles upon his estranged mother. Coach Taylor tries his best to encourage Smash as he tries to make the college tryouts.
Coach worries and fears for his job as Tami befriends Katie McCoy. The pressure is on Matt as everyone's hopes turn to the new quarterback. Matt's friendly with Julie. Billy drags Tim into a risky scheme to get them out of debt. Lyla cautions Tim.
Tami embarrasses herself with the superintendent. Tyra breaks with Landry to take up with Cash, the new bad boy in town. Julie advises Matt who is upset with his mother who has come to help with grandma. Smash has an emotional goodbye with Coach.
Matt grapples with his mother, his emotions and Coach Taylor as McCoy garners more attention. Tami tangles with Tyra about Julie and Tyra's interest in Cash. Tyra experiences Cash's darker side. Erin disappoints Jason.
Coach is furious with Tim and the team for a freshman hazing. J.D. wins the respect of the town and team. A late night swim at the lake turns into more for Julie and Matt. Tyra is shocked when a woman shows up claiming Cash owes her child support.
Eric and Tami try to calm Jamarca's angry parents; Billy helps Tim pursue a scholarship; and Jason, Herc and the Riggins brothers receive good news.
Tim is worried when Jason talks about leaving Dillon. Money troubles cause a riff between Tami and Eric. Tyra leans on Cash when things get tough, while Julie talks to her dad about Matt's idea.
Tim returns to find both good and bad surprises. Coach has to change his plans and reluctantly supports Tami when she feels obligated to help Tyra out of a jam. Saracen has second thoughts and clashes with Shelby. Lyla and Mindy team up.
It becomes clear JD has no interest in his father's advice regarding Madison. Lyla turns to Riggins when Buddy reveals a secret. Coach is emotionally challenged both on and off the field. Tyra has a plan to repair her relationship with Landry.
Tyra is desperate and once again turns to Landry. Coach and Tami learn of a change that could dismantle the Panthers team. Tim sees another side of Lyla. Matt flips out when Grandma suffers an accident. Tensions escalate between JD and Joe.
J.D.'s dad has to deal with child protective services after his fight with J.D. Tyra realizes that life isn't fair and that she needs to do whatever is necessary to get in to college. Matt and Tim prepare for the last game of their high school career: The Texas State Championship.
Five months later, Coach Taylor's contract is up for review on Billy and Mindy's wedding day. Tyra grows anxious about her waitlist status. Matt leaves Grandma Saracen and Julie behind to attend college. Tim and Lyla question their future together.