You know those kids that wear the Negro League Baseball caps? So you ask them about Satchel Paige and they look at you like you are the idiot? Or those that wear rugby shirts, and yet they don't know about the Super League? Those guys that absolutely love the University of Washington but couldn't talk to you about Don James?
Somewhere, some marketing guru/dork managed to sell a brand. They absorbed a little bit of history, wrapped it up in myth and slapped it on some cotton from Pakistan, or somewhere else and people started buying it. The youth buying these items don't generally know about the history of what they are getting. They like the look, the feel, the myth.
That's the current version of the New York Cosmos.
Quoting from the linked wikipedia (sure to change soon)
Former Cosmos players Pelé and Giorgio Chinaglia were also involved with this group. Pelé announced the club's return in August 2010,
Pele announced the club's return? Really? WHAT Club?
The Cosmos have continued to add dignitaries to their staff. Global soccer icons, and yet... I search league's for information. They are in MLS? Nope. NASL 2.0? Nope. USLPro? Nope, different FCNY there. PDL? Nope. Super Y-league? NPSL? NSSL? NO, no, no.
There's no team to the team. They don't even plan to have a team until 2013.
Well, sure they have some academy teams on each coast. Their East Coast version is 3-2-0 with a +3 GD. The West is 1-1-1 with a +1. Neither has left the bottom 10 for games played. Maybe they are being run by some Portuguese genius who doesn't believe in competitive matches until after age 17? Probably not, because they would be stupid to join the system then.
Its getting silly though. This brand, this hype. It is being maintained not necessarily by stalwarts in soccer journalism, but instead by those who are old enough to remember the NASL as adults, and Europe. In America the Cosmos hype is Gen X and older, and yet, MLS is using Gen Y and younger as their marketing fuel. In Europe it seems like if you mention Pele, Beckham or Cosmos you shoot to the top of search engines. Whether or not there is a team involved.
In this case there is no team. Sure, there might be an MLS side some day. New York city is almost certain to be the 20th team. I would even say it is likely to be the Cosmos, in 2013.
So what is today's huge billboard in Times Square saying
Really... nothing says that a sports team is back like not actually playing games, except maybe some exhibition games. But seriously is that back? If the Cosmos play in an All-Star type friendly is that back?
If the Harlem Globetrotters signed Michael Jordan would ANYONE take them seriously? No. Not in the least. And yet American media is fawning over the Cosmos. They are generating hype like very few MLS sides can. We happen to be fans of one team that does a bit of it. And yet they are nothing.
They are not a soccer team. They are not the old Cosmos reborn. They are not the 20th team.
What are the Cosmos right now?
They are the equal to an Abercrombie & Fitch baseball cap. They only people who will own their jerseys are either well into your 40s, or naive. You are supporting either a dead team, long gone, or you are into hype.
Even if the Cosmos get announced as MLS team 20, what's their Times Square billboard going to say? "We're back, again, but for reals." Doesn't have the ring. When they take the pitch with overage retiring Europeans vs the smart MLS sides that are growing in Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, DC, Dallas with homegrown talents supplemented by lesser known, but actually good internationals how will they do as Cosmos 3.0? Will hype be enough, or will New York city expect them to win to be true to their brand.