The love for creator James Burrows’ barfly sitcom started early on in “Ted Lasso” when someone said “Cheers” to Ted and he awkwardly responded, “Night Court,” referencing the legendary NBC Thursday night lineup of the mid-80s. There’s a natural sports and drinking connection between both shows as well. Sam Malone is a retired relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and one of his first bartenders, the dim-witted but lovable character Coach (Nicholas Colasanto), was his former coach when they were both in the big leagues. Coach was killed off at the end of season 3 and later replaced by Woody Harrelson. All the regulars inside Cheers talk about life on and off the field in much the same way that Ted, Coach Beard, and the Richmond faithful do inside Mae’s (Annette Badland) pub, Crown & Anchor in “Ted Lasso.”
The pub scenes are a clear parallel between both shows, and the final scenes of “Cheers” and “Ted Lasso” mirror each other almost exactly. After eleven seasons, the final shot of “Cheers” features Sam straightening a framed picture of Geronimo before turning the lights off for the night. It shows how much affection Sam has for the bar but it’s also a little tip of the hat to Coach and Colasanto, who passed away a few years after “Cheers” started its run, eventually becoming one of the most successful sitcoms of all time.
At the end of “So Long, Farewell,” Mae walks up to a picture holding the same exact same photo of Geronimo and straightens it. It’s a perfect nod to “Cheers” and a fitting ending for “Ted Lasso” that sees Mae tending to her pub and thinking about Ted in the same, perfect little moment.