Michael Ausiello
August 25, 2010 AT 07:59 PM EDT

Image Credit: Everett Collection; Bill Records/NBCEven in its series finale, Friday Night Lights tried to score one more touchdown. The drama—which kicks off its fifth (and final) season on DirecTV on Oct. 27—attempted to draft Billy Bob Thornton to reprise his role of Coach Gary Gaines from the feature film on which the TV show is based.

Why? Keep reading for the scoop…

Referring to himself and fellow exec producer Peter Berg—who directed the Oscar winner in the movie version—Jason Katims reveals, “We wanted to pay homage to the movie, so we came up with an idea for a cameo. But Billy wasn’t available.”

To give away the specifics of the proposed story would ruin a major development in FNL‘s swan song, but suffice it to say, it involved Coach Gaines’ small-screen successor, Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler).

And, Katims adds, don’t worry—you’ll never know what you’re missing. “We wanted the episode to be a rich and satisfying ending,” he says. “Nine-tenths good story and one-tenth nostalgia.”

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