Anybody who watches television regularly has to be familiar with Ted Lasso. The 11-time Emmy-winning show for Apple TV+ is much beloved by millions upon millions of viewers. It stars Jason Sudeikis as the title character, a former college football coach hired to coach a soccer team in the United Kingdom. The intention of the team owner is for him to fail, thus ruining the club originally owned by her ex-husband. However, Lasso’s unorthodox leadership based on positivity and self-belief proves unexpectedly successful. It is a delightful experience and has brought Sudeikis plenty of well-deserved praise.
Many people have wondered where the inspiration for Lasso came from. The team of First We Feast on YouTube, hosts of the popular Hot Ones series, got to ask him while enjoying hot wings. Sudeikis explained how the inspiration for the character came from several people he knew personally growing up. However, getting the look of Lasso down was a bit more challenging. In the end, one famous head coach had what he was looking for.
None other than Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka.
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Ted Lasso is far from Ditka as a personality.
The two couldn’t be more different. Lasso coaches through positivity and trusting the players to do the right things, offering guidance whenever needed. Ditka was not that. He was a hard-driving disciplinarian. Everything the Bears did would not happen without his express say-so. If someone improvised on the field, he’d bench or even cut them. That is why he hated quarterbacks like Jim McMahon and Jim Harbaugh. It would’ve been fascinating to see what would’ve happened if that Bears locker room in the 1980s encountered a guy like Lasso.
Given the characters on that squad, it probably would’ve been ugly. That said, it’s fun to remember how much of an inspiration Ditka continues to be. Not just as a coach, mind you. As a character. Other NFL coaches had more success than him, but few people today remember who they were. Everybody remembers Mike Ditka. The same goes for Ted Lasso. If season three is the finale everyone expects, it will easily be one of the greatest television characters ever created.