The Funny (And True) Story Behind How Ryan Reynolds And Rob McElhenney Found Out About Ted Lasso While In The Middle Of Making Their Own Soccer Show

Welcome to Wrexham and Ted Lasso
(Image credit: FX/Apple TV+)

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny seemed like an unlikely duo until they became co-owners of a Welsh football team together. The two comedic actors struck up a friendship via social media and eventually decided to make the big purchase -- before even meeting in person. Now, Reynolds and McElhenny are documenting the experience on an FX docuseries titled Welcome to Wrexham. While neither are Welsh or have any connection to the titular place, the American actors wanted to revitalize the team and give back to the city. The real-life underdog story is wonderfully uplifting, and fans have been drawing connections to the 2022 Emmy winning series Ted Lasso, a show that the actors found out about amid all of the hoopla. 

Apparently, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds laugh about the similarities themselves. McElhenney found out about the development of Ted Lasso in an unlikely way and shared the story during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star recalled:  

Jason [Sudeikis] called me not about football at all but about working with Apple. Because Ted Lasso hadn’t even come out yet, and I have a show called Mythic Quest [on Apple]. So we were talking about what it’s like working with Apple, and we were just talking and swapping stories. Then he asked what I was doing next, and I mentioned this football endeavor, and then he mentioned what his show was about and then I was like, 'Oh man, we’ve gotta get our show out before his show,’ but I think they beat us by like two years.

While Ted Lasso may be a fictional story about an American football coach who tries to revitalize a struggling AFC team with his unique, positive perspective, its similarities to the real-life Welcome to Wrexham story is uncanny. It essentially started when Ryan Reynolds reached out to Rob McElhenney to gush about one of his favorite It’s Always Sunny moments, and the rest was history. While McElhenney joked about how got their idea first, Reynolds chimed in with a diplomatic response:

I imagine [co-creator] Bill Lawrence had a pilot script for Ted Lasso before us, I can imagine. That's my guess.

Still, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney seem to approach their team with the same sunny, Ted Lasso-esque energy. And much like the beloved television coach, these two sports team owners are both still trying to figure out the “off-sides” rule. Overall, both Lasso and Wrexham are very emotional and heartwarming, so you definitely have to check out both.

Ted Lasso is currently streaming for Apple TV+ subscribers. Season 3 is also in production right now so, hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long before seeing Jason Sudeikis and all of his folksy, midwestern charm back on the small screen. According to reports, Sudeikis is working hard on Season 3 in order to ensure that it's perfect. In the meantime, you can check out the first season of Welcome to Wrexham, which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX and is streamable for Hulu subscription-holders.

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.