Friday Night Lights

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Jerrod McDougal Character Analysis

A utility defender for the Panthers, McDougal’s family has lost a great deal of money in the oil bust of the late 1980s, and McDougal is frustrated by what he considers the two major emphases of Texas life: oil and football. But McDougal also does not see a way out of these two “industries,” and he plays and enjoys football because he feels it is the thing he ought to do, as a young man in Texas. McDougal is devastated after Permian’s loss to Carter in the state semis.

Jerrod McDougal Quotes in Friday Night Lights

The Friday Night Lights quotes below are all either spoken by Jerrod McDougal or refer to Jerrod McDougal. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Football Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Perseus edition of Friday Night Lights published in 1990.
Prologue Quotes

The tingling sensation stayed with him, and he knew that when he stepped on that field tonight he wouldn’t feel like a football player at all but like someone . . . entering a glittering, barbaric arena.

Related Characters: Buzz Bissinger (speaker), Jerrod McDougal
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

Jerrod is preparing for a "big game," and Bissinger goes to great lengths to show that, for the Panthers, each game is bigger than the next. Football, for these high school juniors and seniors, is the center of their lives. Winning and losing are not only aspects of that game—they are aspects of a life lived well, in a town (Odessa) where other kinds of success (namely, economic) are relatively hard to come by, and harder to maintain.

Bissinger explicitly compares football to the combat of ancient Roman gladiators here, and though that analogy might seem forced at this point, it holds up as the books goes on. Players are often injured for the cause. People in the stands cheer when their team wins, and boo harshly for their opponents. And the game is at the center of the town's social life: hence the "Friday Night Lights" of the book's title, which bathe Odessa in a cool glow once a week in the fall. 

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Jerrod McDougal Character Timeline in Friday Night Lights

The timeline below shows where the character Jerrod McDougal appears in Friday Night Lights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Football Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger shifts his attention to Jerrod McDougal, a defensive utility player on the team, who, before the game, slips into his... (full context)
Chapter 3: Boobie
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...Boobie is an agile, quick, explosive runner, and many on the team, including Winchell and Jerrod McDougal, say he’s “the best player they’ve ever seen.” Boobie’s uncle, LV, acts as Boobie’s... (full context)
Chapter 12: Civil War
Football Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...devastated. Winchell worries that he has lost the game for his team, and Chavez and McDougal are nearly beside themselves with sadness. Sharon Gaines, Gary Gaines’ wife, tries to find and... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger ends the chapter by following Jerrod McDougal and his father and mother. McDougal is mature for a high-schooler—he knows that football... (full context)
Chapter 16: Field of Dreams
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
On the ride back to Odessa, and afterward, the Panthers are devastated: many, like McDougal and Chavez, cry bitterly, knowing that their seasons and high-school football lives are over. Gaines... (full context)
Epilogue
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...is accepted to Harvard, where he does not play varsity football but continues his studies. McDougal works for his father in the West Texas oil business, and Don Billingsley, after formally... (full context)