SNY takes liberty with the word “year” in the title of its new documentary, “62,000:1 – Three Teams, One City, One Year.”
But we get the idea, even if the Jets, Mets and Knicks technically won their championships over 16 months from January of 1969 to May of 1970.
The point is, it was a special era in New York sports, one currently being celebrated in a series of 50th anniversary events, including for the '69 Mets at Citi Field this weekend.
SNY will premiere the show on television on July 3 after a screening in Manhattan on Tuesday that included a panel discussion with the Jets’ John Schmitt and Don Maynard, the Mets’ Cleon Jones and the Knicks’ Dick Barnett.
Basil Iwanyk, a Hollywood film producer with the "John Wick" and "The Expendables" franchises among his credits, oversaw production of the documentary. He called it “the greatest experience of my career,” even though as someone born in 1970 he does not remember those times and teams.
“The biggest surprise without question was just how immediate the emotion was, like it happened yesterday,” said Iwanyk, who grew up in New Jersey as a fan of all three teams.
“Fifty years is a very long time for most mortal men. But you can see it in the interviews, that it’s so easy for these men to get emotional . . . It’s still there, as clear as it was probably an hour after the [last game] ended. That blew me away.”
Indeed, Schmitt, who played at Hofstra, on several occasions became emotional on the stage as he recalled his teammates, some no longer alive, from the Super Bowl team.
Schmitt also is interviewed in the film, as are Joe Namath, Jerry Koosman, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier and others, including journalists and entertainers.
“All three of these teams deserve their own films,” Iwanyk said.
Viewers should not expect a deep dive on any of them. The film is 44 minutes long without commercial breaks, allowing less than 15 for each champion.
But for younger viewers seeking a primer to understand the Baby Boomer fuss about those teams and for older viewers in search of a quick-acting nostalgia injection, it does the trick.
“Nobody gave us a chance to win that game,” Schmitt said during the panel discussion of Super Bowl III, in which the Jets upset the Colts, 16-7. “They were wondering whether they were going to get a scoreboard large enough to put the score on that we were going to lose by.”
So it went, both in the film and on the screening panel, as the aging stars of the era looked back on a time that in the coming few decades will pass from living memory.
“The question is, how did it happen and why did it happen and could it happen again?” Iwanyk said. “Going on the ‘Could it happen again?’, it made me realize in a really emotional way just what it was like to be a fan of these three teams and the power of the fans and the power of the New York fandom.
“For me it’s about New York and about the New York fan and about these three teams and about where it started and continues to this day.”