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Is Ted Lasso Based On A Real Person? Inspiration Explained

Ted Lasso continues to inspire the world with his upbeat positive attitude, but is this titular character inspired by a real person? It may be tough to contemplate that such a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed adult exists, but according to the show’s co-creator and lead actor, Jason Sudeikis, Ted came about from a variety of sources. Combining wit, humor, and mentorship, Sudeikis and his team created an award-winning television show spotlighting this beautiful persona.

Ted Lasso’s pilot episode introduces Ted as the wholesome American, who was hired as the AFC Richmond coach. He appears enthusiastically upbeat in his new role. Despite being a beginner in the game of soccer, he holds his own and proves his value. However, as the series progresses, Ted reveals himself as an ordinary guy. He struggles with separating from his family back in the states as well as gaining acceptance from his new team and colleagues. Eventually, Ted develops anxiety and panic attacks every so often, leaving viewers feeling all the more connected to a real, authentic, personable human being. This, in turn, creates a magnificent character that not only people can relate to, but also derive their own inspiration. 

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Ted Lasso has found itself wrapped up in the hearts of viewers worldwide and for good reason. The character of Ted displays an authentic joy and positive attitude that is contagious to both his players, loved ones, and all the viewers who can't get enough. So who inspired this character? It happens to be a wide array of people from Jason Sudeikis’ life, including his high school basketball coach, Donnie Campbell, long-time heroes he has looked up to for years like Robin Williams, as well as versions of himself he hopes to be someday.

Most coaches tend to be like Roy Kent, aggressive and a little rough around the edges. However, Roy’s dominating energy saves AFC Richmond, so it is effective. Ted, however, connects through compassion, personability, and laughter. These attributes come about most notably from Sudeikis’ former high school basketball coach, Donnie Campbell, who would use adages as Ted does. With a sort of happy-go-lucky personality, combined with a funny little saying to crack a smile or two, Donnie became an undeniable inspiration for Ted’s character. But this is only one aspect that inspired the character of Ted Lasso. Sudeikis has also mentioned (via Variety) that the character is directly inspired by the likes of Robin Williams, stating “(The character) is rooted in these teachers here, and mentors, these Obi-Wan Kenobi types that see more in you than you can see in yourself, and that optimism,”.

Another inspiration comes from Sudeikis himself, who has stated he hopes to be a version of Ted someday; someone who doesn't sweat the small stuff, and has an objective perspective in life and with others. Ted is someone who doesn't get bogged down by minor events, and who doesn't shy away from conflict, but instead makes that conflict into an agreement of some kind. He finds common ground with everyone he encounters, making him the essential glue to the story. 

These facets that Ted displays, inspired by real people, are examples of human connection. While Ted Lasso season 2 received backlash and criticisms, it is still one of the most talked-about television series at this time. Ted Lasso relates to each individual, which is why the series has already become such a success.

Next: Ted Lasso: What Song Is In The Credits (& Who Sings It)

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