The History and Future of Detroit Sports


The Dakota Planet

Detroit sports teams have underperformed for decades, lacking the ability to rack up some trophies. The last championship trophy a Detroit team saw was in 2008, when the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, ultimately lifting the Stanley Cup trophy. The Detroit Red Wings are the most successful Detroit team, with 11 titles all-time. The Detroit Lions have won 4 championships, but nationally it isn’t recognized since the Super Bowl was implemented. The Lions have zero Super Bowl wins. The future of Detroit is looking very bright, with most of “our” teams having the youngest teams in their respective leagues.

Believe it or not, the 1930s is when Detroit sports teams started to thrive. Detroit was given the nickname “City of Champions” for its success across their sports teams. The Lions won the championship in 1935, The Tigers won the American League Pennant in 1934 and 1935, and also won the World Series in 1935. The Red Wings also won the Stanley Cup back-to-back in 1936 and 1937. To this day, believe it or not, Detroit is the only city to feature three professional sports championships in the same year or 365 days (April 11, 1936, through October 5, 1936.) Not New York, not Boston, not Los Angeles, not Philadelphia, but Detroit. The ’30s weren’t the only decade in which Detroit thrived. In the 1950s Detroit repeated the same feat, collecting 7 championship trophies (Red Wings 4, Lions 3). As the years went on, Detroit “fell off” from the top spot of the sports world. After 1957, the next Detroit sports team to win a championship was the Tigers… in 1968. And the next, 1984. That’s 10+ years in between each championship. If that seems embarrassing, read the introduction once again.

Detroit has witnessed some of the greatest sports teams in history. Some were winners, while others fell short. One of the greatest Pistons teams was in 1989. They completed many accomplishments like sweeping America’s team, the Los Angeles Lakers (4-0). The Lakers ran the NBA for the longest time, with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominating the game. But the Pistons had great defense, specializing in hard-fouling and getting under the opponent’s skin, also known as the famous “Jordan Rules” This group of ballers knew what to do, winning the Finals once again the next year. Many remember this team as “The Bad Boys” Another great squad is The 2004 Pistons. These ballers won their games by focusing on smothering-lockdown defending. Short story, it worked. The Pistons only let teams average 84 points a game. In the “Modern Era” of the NBA, that’s practically impossible to accomplish. But, some rules have changed since then, allowing the offense to score more points. The 2004 Pistons starting lineup is one of the best ever, with 4 of the 5 being selected to the All-Star game. The Pistons were known to other teams as enemies, making the memories for “us” even sweeter.

Since 2000, Detroit has only acquired 3 championship trophies (2 Red Wings, and 1 Pistons). Although Detroit has been struggling recently, it looks like “we’ll” be trending upward in the next decade. All the Detroit sports teams have one thing in common, and that’s their age. Detroit sports teams have some of the youngest teams in their leagues, with great managers to back that up. Every Detroit team has hired a new General Manager since 2019, with the Tigers GM Scott Harris, being the latest hire. Other “new” hires like coach Dan Campbell and GM Steve Yzerman have impacted their team already. Even though the Lions finished 3-13-1 a year ago, Campbell turned their season around by finishing 9-8. Steve Yzerman is the Red Wings “newer” GM. The Red Wings have struggled the past decade, but it really looks like the “Yzerplan” is coming together. The Red Wings are in the NHL playoff race right now, with 6 points shy (as of March 3, 2023) of a Wild Card spot.

The Lions and Tigers are the most promising teams in Detroit right now. The Lions are favored to win their division (NFC North) and the Tigers are favored to finish 2nd in theirs (AL Central). Five years ago, this would’ve sounded very odd. But every day we’re getting closer to another Detroit Championship.

The Detroit Lions are looking very bright. With stars all around them, don’t be surprised when “we” win the Super Bowl. No, I’m not joking. After their last game vs the Green Bay Packers, I believe we could beat any team in the NFL. “We” will run the NFC next year, while the country hears more and more about “our” players. With the NFL Draft coming up, I think this is when GM Brad Holmes takes a big step towards winning a championship. If Holmes drafts the right guys (he always does) then I think “we’ll” be set up for an easy path to the playoffs. I understand the NFC is a very hard conference, but I think “we’ll” do alright.

The Tigers have just started Spring Training, and overall, they’ve been doing alright. They lead the MLB in Home Runs right now. I know that’s against minor-league pitchers, but still. If they keep it up, they’ll meet expectations, but only if Javier Baez stops swinging at sliders in the dirt. The Tigers are a very young team, with many call-ups waiting to happen. After Miguel Cabrera retires, “we’ll” probably be the youngest team in baseball. I think they’ll do alright this year, recording probably 70-80 wins, with a smaller chance at making the playoffs.

Detroit is in good hands. Great General Managers and other staff members make Detroit top of the free agent and draft market. We’ve already seen this happen. Pistons rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren wanted to come to play in Detroit. Lions players like Jameson Williams and Jamaal Williams also were very excited to come and play here. The only struggle I see is shipping out players who really enjoy their team in Detroit. We all know those players.

Detroit will soon be at the top of the sports world again, and all the haters will see that “were” the champions. By soon, I mean next year because of course, this is the year.