However, following the season two premiere of Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso, we found ourselves questioning whether the often-inspiring character is actually good at his job. For those who've yet to tune in, the new episode kicked off with AFC Richmond struggling to perform after seven straight ties.
To make matters worse, star player Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) even began questioning his "Football is Life" mantra after accidentally killing the beloved mascot, Earl Greyhound. You'd think this would be Ted's time to shine, right? Wrong.
Unable to shake the yips from Dani, Ted and company enlisted the help of sports psychologist Sharon (Sarah Niles). Understandably, as Ted is used to being the one to inspire his players, the American coach found himself feeling insecure about the new hire.
This unexpected scenario had us wondering: If Ted Lasso isn't inspiring others, what is he good for? Of course, this sparked a debate that rocked the (at-home) offices of E! News. So, keep scrolling for two very different takes on Ted's coaching abilities.
He's a Bad Coach - Alyssa Ray
Before we jump in, let me just clarify that I love Ted Lasso. I love his warm Kansas twang, his soft mustache and his unwavering optimism. In fact, I have every intention to dress my fiancé up as Coach Ted for Halloween.
Nonetheless, I ultimately feel that Ted is a bad coach for AFC Richmond. Sure, Ted could motivate a brick wall to move, but he doesn't fully understand the game he's overseeing. Season one proved that Ted struggled to grasp the fundamentals of soccer (a.k.a football to the rest of the world) and relied on those around him to strategize a bulk of the plays.
Out of sheer luck, Ted and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) found assistance in kit man Nate (Nick Mohammed), who had an incredible amount of knowledge on the sport. We love the glow up, but wouldn't it have been better if they hired an assistant coach with knowledge from day one? No disrespect to Coach Beard's research, yet, it just barely did the job in the first season.
They did get relegated after all.
Speaking of, heading into their most important match, Ted initially refused to bench veteran player Roy (Brett Goldstein). It wasn't until Beard and Nate gave him the silent treatment over his Roy stance that he relented, proving Ted can be blindsided by his loyalty to his players. wAnd then we're missing the bigger picture here: the actual game. We can't say that's a characteristic of a stellar coach.
Fast forward to the first episode of season two, AFC Richmond has had zero wins, a dog is dead and the star player is on the fritz. At what point do we question whether Ted is the problem? I can't be the only one feeling this way...
He's a Good Coach - Jessie Price
Between Coach Ted Lasso's endless one-liners, his homemade biscuits and toy army men he gifts as a reminder to stay strong, it's clear Ted is a stand-up guy. It's clear that he'd make a good coach I.R.L., but some people are seemingly, er, skeptical. This show is riddled with humor and heart. And it should come as no surprise that the series made Emmy history as the most nominated freshman comedy series with its 20 nods this year. But I can admit, that may be my bias for Jason Sudeikis coming through.
Regardless, even when his athletes are struggling to believe in themselves, Ted—whose optimism is more pure than his mustache—manages to show them their own strengths in unique ways.
"Be a goldfish, Sam," Ted wisely advised one player. "They got a 10-second memory."
What the heck does that mean, though? He's essentially telling Sam to forget about the mistakes he made to avoid creating added pressure. Ted's belief in Sam helped coach the player out of a toxic state of mind.
And it's not just the open-minded players Ted assists, as he found himself getting through Jamie Tartt's ego to show him that a team plays better than an individual. Oh, and we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about the effect Ted had on Nate The Great. Without Ted's pep talks, Nate would likely still be the shy, albeit adorable, ball guy. It's that kind of belief and confidence that makes Ted such a great leader.
Speaking of leadership, despite Ted's lack of experience coaching soccer, he did lead the Wichita State Football team to their very first Division II national title.
Sure, it was a different sport, but, at the end of the day, those coaching skills helped his players learn to work together and get through challenges. Ted goes beyond teaching tactics and techniques, he taps into their psyche to draw out their best qualities.
He believes in his players' strongest assets and that there's more to the game itself. (Heck, he believes in ghosts, though he thinks it's more important "they believe in themselves.")
Ted Lasso is, without a doubt, a great coach. And, remember: The Lasso-way is the only way.
Catch the season two premiere of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ now.