On 7 July 2006, Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos premiered in New York City.
Directed by John Crowder and Paul Dower and narrated by Matt Dillon, the documentary chronicles the rise and fall of the Cosmos from their founding in 1971, through their heyday in the late '70s, to their collapse in 1984.
Although Pelé, the Cosmos's most famous player, declined any involvement in the film (reportedly because the filmmakers would not pay his requested fee of $100,000), the directors did interview several other people from the club's history, including founding owner Ahmet Ertegun and a long list of Cosmos players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Shep Messing, and Werner Roth. Together, they described the club's meteoric rise from NASL expansion team to a global brand, driven primarily by the signing of Pelé in 1975.
After Pelé's retirement in 1977, the Cosmos began to suffer financial pressures due to dwindling crowds and the loss of monetary backing by the former parent company, Warner Communications. As the league imploded, the Cosmos tried a season of indoor football, but could not remain afloat and folded in 1985.