Apple TV+’s ‘Ted Lasso‘ concludes its third season with a rollercoaster finale episode that ends one chapter while marking the start of another. AFC Richmond plays their final game of the season and is within a single point and a single victory from completing their fairytale run to the league title. However, when the players face impossible odds in the last match, Ted reveals the fourth component of Total Football, which ties back in with the show’s humble roots and refreshing ideas from the first season. If you are wondering what number 4 is and what Ted’s final pep talk to the team means, here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!
What Is Number 4?
In ‘Ted Lasso,’ season 3, Ted finds inspiration to turn around AFC Richmond’s season after their friendly loss to Ajax in Amsterdam. Ted develops a new style of play in the sixth episode, inspired by Total Football. In the following episode, Ted, Coach Beard, and Roy Kent train the Richmond players to adapt to the new style of play. Ted explains that there are four fundamental components to successfully learning Total Football. He reveals the first three to be Conditioning, Versatility, and Awareness. However, Ted does not reveal the fourth essential component of Total Football and admits he does not know what the number 4 is yet.
In the season 3 finale, titled ‘So Long, Farewell,’ AFC Richmond is playing the final game of their season against West Ham United. However, the team is two goals down in the first half. Desperate to make a comeback, Ted gives the players a pep talk. Ted encourages the team to play harder, smarter, and together. The three words reference the first three components of Ted’s version of Total Football. However, Ted finally reveals the number 4 when he instinctively points to the now missing “BELIEVE” sign that he had added to the Richmond dressing room when he first came to the club. Thus, the mystery ingredient to “The Lasso Way” is none other than Ted’s core philosophy of self-belief. However, by detaching the players from that idea, Ted makes the players actually embrace the philosophy instead of taking his words for face value.
What Does THAT Finale Scene Mean?
Ted’s revelation of the fourth component leads to what is arguably one of the most uplifting and important scenes of the entire series. After Ted tries pointing at the sign, he realizes it no longer exists and quickly wraps up his speech. However, Sam takes the opportunity to unveil a piece of the sign he has been carrying with him. Similarly, other Richmond players come forward one by one and share the piece of the sign they were carrying all along. As viewers might remember, Ted had ripped the sign into pieces after realizing how much the players were attached to it. Instead, he encouraged them to find that belief inside themselves and each other.
Jamie keeps his shard inside a book, Isaac inside his captain’s armband, Colin inside his stalking, and so on. The players one-by-one take out the pieces of paper from different places signifies that they carry a piece of the wisdom imparted to them by Ted within them. Hence, Coach Lasso’s boys no longer need to point to a sign to seek affirmation. Instead, they need to look inside themselves, and they will find the self-belief to overcome the toughest odds.
The players complete the “BELIEVE” sign, which is placed on an inverted AFC Richmond logo that references the second season finale, titled ‘Inverting the Pyramid of Success.’ The “Pyramid of Success” refers to basketball coach John Wooden’s idea of success, which provides the framework for a path to becoming a better person. It ties into Ted’s philosophy as he believes success is more than the sum total of your wins and losses. To him, it is about helping young people become the best version of themselves on and off the pitch.
Ted opens his pep talk by thanking all his players, expressing his gratitude, and praising their remarkable growth as footballers and individuals. The speech, in turn, leads the players to conclude that self-belief is the key to success, which literally inverts the “Pyramid of Success.” Thus, ‘Ted Lasso’ brings its overall thematic journey to a full circle, with Ted reminding the team that they are already successful by virtue of becoming better versions of themselves. The powerful scene also imparts this piece of wisdom to the viewers as Ted’s journey concludes a few scenes later, but not without giving one final dose of the show’s contagiously positive and boundless feel-good sensibilities.