‘Ted Lasso’ makes a huge Denver Broncos reference in its latest episode

May 10, 2023, 12:19 AM | Updated: 12:34 am

SPOILER ALERT: If you’d rather not know plot points from the latest Ted Lasso episode, read no further.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the eponymous character of Ted Lasso isn’t a Broncos fan. The fish-out-of-water American football coach guiding a fictional Premier League club, A.F.C. Richmond, is a proud product of Kansas City.

So, at some point, if discussing the Broncos, Jason Sudeikis’ coach character bound to toss a pejorative at them. And during a halftime locker-room speech to his Greyhounds, he does just that, calling the Broncos a “garbage-ass team.”

But the allusion to the Orange and Blue goes deeper than that.

In one of the more pivotal moments of the award-winning show’s third season, the show uses a coach’s speech and an allusion to a friend who was a Broncos fan to show solidarity with a player, Colin Hughes, who had just revealed to the team that he is gay. In previous episodes, viewers learned that the character had been struggling with his sexuality and keeping it a secret from his teammates.

As it turned out, his Richmond teammates offer support, saying they don’t care about that.

Then, Ted steps in. And as is often the case for the character, he tells a story.

“Now, hold on, actually. Colin, we do care, you know?,” he says.

“When I was growing up back in Kansas City, we had a buddy, Stevie Jewell. Now, he was a huge Denver Broncos fan. But we were all growing up smack-dab in the middle of Chiefs country. So, he used to catch a lot of guff for it, you know? But me, I told him it didn’t affect the way I felt about him at all, you know? I told him that I didn’t care. And I didn’t.

“But then in 19, what, 1997, 1998, he had to watch back-to-back Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos in ‘em, all by himself. First one, he ate an entire seven-layer dip from Price Chopper all by himself. Big ol’ thing. And it just wrecked his stomach. Apparently, he destroyed the toilet in his parents’ basement. Yeah, I remember the rumor at the time being that he caused $9,000 worth of damage. Could you imagine? To a toilet. Nine thousand bucks. Next year, he did the exact same thing. All by himself. He must have thought it was good luck or something, I don’t know. ‘Cause I wasn’t there. ‘Cause I didn’t care.

“But I should have cared, y’know? I should have supported him. I should have been at his house both them years. Sharing that seven-layer dip with my friend — while his garbage-ass team wins back-to-back Super Bowls.”

For multiple reasons, Ted’s reference didn’t hit the mark with the team.

Observes Colin, “Coach, did you just compare being gay to being a Denver Broncos fan?”

“You know what, I did, and I regret it. Sorry about that,” Ted replies.

The team’s star player, the occasionally mind-addled Jamie Tartt, chimes in, asking, “What the f*** are Denver Broncos?”

“You know, that’s a very good question,” replies Ted. “It’s an American football reference, an absolute fumble in this situation. I apologize.

“But the point is, Colin, we don’t not care. We care very much. We care about who you are and what you must have been going through, yeah? But hey, from now on, you don’t have to go through it all by yourself. All right?”

The team affirms its support of its teammate. And this being a heart-warming sitcom, it huddles up, comes together — and comes back to win.

It’s far from the first time in which the Broncos popped up on a popular comedy. In a second-season episode of Mork & Mindy — a show set in Boulder — Robin Williams’ alien character joins the Broncos’ cheerleading squad during a 1979 game. The Simpsons lobbed a slew of Broncos references onto the show, particularly in the 1990s — including Homer Simpson eventually becoming owner of the club when his boss of a brief period purchases the team for him as a going-away present.

South Park is rife with nods to the team, given that its co-creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, grew up in the Denver area. Parker narrated the Broncos’ “America’s Game” episode for NFL Films commemorating the team’s Super Bowl 50 win. And in the last decade, the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing was set in Colorado and included nods to the Broncos. Allen also narrated a Super Bowl 50 documentary focusing on the Broncos’ coaching staff, “Worth the Wait.”

There are other examples, but those are some of the high points.

And to that lineage, one can add Ted Lasso.



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