While AppleTV’s beloved fish-out-of-water series is full of Easter Eggs, the recent tribute to renowned football reporter, Grant Wahl in Ted Lasso was more than just a throwaway line.
Starring Jason Sudeikis, the show follows the exploits of American college football coach Ted Lasso when he takes over as head coach of the English soccer club AFC Richmond.
Club owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddington) hires Ted with the intention that he will fail terribly as payback for her ex-husband Rupert Mannion’s infidelity. Ted’s unexpectedly effective leadership is credited with instilling the club with genuine passion and conviction.
Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), Ted’s beloved though the somewhat resentful right-hand guy is an avid reader and contributes greatly to the show’s success. In episode five of season three, there was a nod to football writer Grant Wahl and a certain book.
Who is Grant Wahl in Ted Lasso?
In Ted Lasso, who is Grant Wahl? At the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, well-liked sports journalist Grant Wahl tragically passed away. Beard reads Grant Wahl’s book The Beckham Experiment, which details the legendary football player’s choice to leave Europe and join Major League Soccer with the LA Galaxy, in the April 5, 2023 episode of Ted Lasso.
The plot of the series, in which former Independent sportswriter Trent Crimm (James Lance) is implanted with AFC Richmond to write a book on the club and the addition of superstar Zava (Maximilian Osinksi), was apparently inspired by Wahl, who was a fan of the show.
“When we knew we were going to have the storyline of Trent embedded with the team, we thought about reporters who’ve done that—John Feinstein came to mind [for his book A Season on the Brink, about Indiana University’s basketball program], and Grant as well,” Hunt told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Specifically, because Grant’s book is about football but also about the arrival of a superstar and the change of a culture with David Beckham, we went to him right away.”
The authors sent Wahl a list of questions regarding how the addition of such a superstar player would affect the club, “hoping he might have time to toss up a few replies,” as Hunt put it. He took the time to write lengthy, thorough, and helpful responses to all of our questions, which I now know to be characteristic of him. He was quite useful.
The following articles are a homage to other celebrities who have just passed away:
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- A Tribute to Jessica Valdez Who Died in a Forklift Accident Stands on Aurora Street
What caused Grant Wahl’s demise?
Wahl’s untimely dea†h at age 49 came as he was in Qatar covering the 2022 FIFA World Cup. While covering the quarterfinal match between the Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Historic Stadium, he unexpectedly fell in his press box seat.
On December 9, 2022, he was taken by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital, where he received 30 minutes of CPR and other treatments before succumbing to his injuries.
The United States Soccer Federation stated in a statement, “Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to enhancing its visibility across our sporting scene played a vital impact in helping to generate interest in and respect for our beautiful game.”
A tribute to Wahl was written by Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, who called him “a compassionate and loving person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism was incomparable.”
Tragically, disinformation abounded after Wahl’s passing; anti-vaxxers incorrectly attributed his dea†h to the COVID-19 vaccine. His infectious disease expert and epidemiology wife Dr. Celine Gounder wrote an op-ed in the New York Times vigorously defending his reputation.
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