The real coach who inspired Ted Lasso

Comedian Jason Sudeikis is known for his acidic and politically incorrect characters. He was part of the cast of Saturday Night Live and gained international recognition with the franchise Horrible Bosses. However, it is with Ted Lasso, the Apple Plus series that he has received awards and praise. They are deserved.

The first time we saw Ted Lasso was in 2012, in an NBC campaign of the Premier League broadcast in the United States. At the time, the broadcaster paid more than $250 million for the broadcasting rights but was uncertain whether Americans – who don’t like football (and call it soccer) – would give it a rating. The conclusion was that they needed to create vignettes and promos to explain the rules of the game and reassure the public who did not know them.

By this point, with the success of SNL and Horrible Bosses, Jason Sudeikis had emerged as the star who could bring humor to the challenge. A typical American, Jason, didn’t play football (soccer), but he is addicted to FIFA games and passionate about the sport. More than that, in 2001, together with his friend, Brendan Hunt, also a FIFA fan, he created this team of coaches where Brendan was the assistant with short, almost inaudible sentences. The two did the improvisation of Ted Lasso and Beard, American football coaches hired to take care of a football team in Europe.

So when NBC called him, Ted Lasso hit the screens. As with the series, the transition wasn’t easy. The English teams did not like the campaign that disregards the rules of the game and only Tottenham Hotspurs accepted it. So, in the promos, Ted is hired to train them and makes absurd mistakes, mixing arrogance and ignorance, in a sequence of absurd gaffes. The campaign was a success and was repeated the following year.

In fact, as Jason confessed, Ted Lasso is modeled after a real person, his high school basketball coach, Donnie Campbell. According to Jason (and Brendan, who was a schoolmate), Donnie knew how to inspire players and cared more about their mental well-being than winning.

It was Jason’s ex-wife, actress Olivia Wilde, who convinced him he had rich material on his hands for a series. American broadcasters didn’t buy it, but Apple TV Plus rose to the challenge.

He and Brendan developed 10 episodes for one season. The second season premieres soon and already have a third in negotiation. After winning the SAG, the Emmy is almost a certainty. Does anyone doubt Ted Lasso now?

For the series, Ted Lasso changed his personality. His arrogance has now turned to positivity and his ignorance has turned to sweetness. There’s a moment in the promo where he defines himself as a technician who listens and that’s the key point of the series. Many of the original jokes are in the 1st episode of the series, but it slowly demonstrates that it can do much more. No wonder he quotes Gay Talese in an interview. The journalist and writer say that all creation comes from curiosity and Ted is curious but sensitive and we are the ones who win with fun, curious, and very hopeful content. Ted Lasso is already the champion.


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