[This story contains minor spoilers for “Big Week,” the fourth episode of Ted Lasso’s third season.]
During the April 5 episode of Ted LassoCoach Beard (Brendan Hunt) has a copy of Grant Wahl’s book The Beckham Experiment, about the soccer superstar’s decision to jump from the top European leagues to Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy in the United States. At the time the scene was filmed, it was intended to be an Easter egg, as most of Beard’s reading picks have been (earlier in the season, he and Ted (Jason Sudeikis) flipped through the football strategy book Invert the pyramid).
However, by the time the episode debuted on Apple TV+, the nod to Wahl had turned into a tribute. Wahl died of an aortic aneurysm while covering the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar, and the show dedicated the episode “Big Week” to him with a title card in the credits.
Hunt, co-creator and executive producer of Ted Lassotold The Hollywood Reporter that Wahl was a fan of the series – and that he helped the writers craft storylines with Trent Crimm (James Lance) writing a book about AFC Richmond and the arrival of superstar Zava (Maximilian Osinski) on the team.
“When we knew we were going to integrate Trent’s storyline into the team, we thought of reporters who have – John Feinstein came to mind [for his book A Season on the Brink, about Indiana University’s basketball program], and Grant too. Especially since Grant’s book is about football, but also about the arrival of a superstar and the culture change with David Beckham, we immediately went to him.”
As they began breaking down the Zava story, the writers sent Wahl a list of questions about how the arrival of such a larger-than-life figure might affect the team, “hoping he’d have time to make a few come up with answers,” Hunt said. “In what I now know to be his typical generosity with his time, he wrote very long, very detailed, very valuable answers to all our questions. He was extremely helpful.”
Hunt and Wahl later spent time together when Wahl covered a match between the US women’s national team and England in October 2022. “On the way to the airport, he came to Richmond,” Hunt recalled. “He came to my house, he met my family, I showed him around Richmond and we had a great day talking about football. Like everyone else, we were all shocked and touched by his loss. to perpetuate his memory.