Sports documentaries are unique stories in that they both appeal to a sports fan, but also can be designed for those who normally aren’t interested in the genre. The best ones are historical for a particular fan of a sport, but also riveting and engaging enough within the human aspect for a normal person looking to hear a good story.
Among good sports documentaries about professional soccer teams, “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos” stands among as one of the best in the particular sport of football or soccer. Detailing the short-lived rise of the Cosmos franchise when the sport was still very much of a niche sport within the United States, the 2006 documentary provides a 97-minute look at pushing a dream well beyond of the scope of what was originally thought of.
Steve Ross who tries to turn his Cosmos squad into a world power almost overnight in 1975 by signing of some of the elite star players of the world such as Pele and Franz Beckenbauer. The Cosmos do hit mainstream popularity even in the Big Apple, but the ride is relatively short-lived the team folded only a decade later.
Conversely, baseball is an ideal sport for both the team and the individual player. Few elite baseball players bring more polarizing views than the all-time hits leader Pete Rose though he is arguably the best player in baseball. In the 2010 documentary, “4192: the Crowning of the Hit King” actually is a close look at the playing style of Rose during his two-decade career and his march to baseball’s hits record.
Rose eventually was banned from baseball for gambling, but this is about his career. Narrated by J.K. Simmons, the documentary doesn’t only contain personal comments by Rose himself, but from former teammates such as Tony Perez and Mike Schmidt. These are just a couple of the sports documentaries on Netflix, but there are a ton of others if these don’t grab you.