The sports scene in Detroit has been through a lot this year, but with Christmas right around the corner, maybe a Christmas miracle will happen. The Lions, Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers could all use a miracle right now. The Lions (3-9-1), Pistons (10-15), and Red Wings (8-22-3) currently hold losing records so far this season and the Tigers (47-114) wrapped up their season a few months back and finished with the worst record in baseball this season. Detroit’s fan-base has been through a lot this year, but have stuck around even through the bad times. With a loyal fan-base, Detroit deserves better. Here is our top five Christmas wish list for our sports teams.
5. For Michigan to finally beat Ohio State in a football game (with or without Jim Harbaugh)
The Michigan Wolverines finished the regular season 9-3 and will face Alabama on January 1st at the Citrus Bowl. Coming into the season, Michigan had bigger plans in mind and was hoping to make the NCAA playoffs. Michigan fell short of that goal, but along the way, they also failed to beat Ohio State University, falling to the Buckeyes 56-27.
Michigan has lost to the Buckeyes eight straight times including this year’s defeat. Michigan’s last victory against Ohio State University came in 2011. Prior to that, the Wolverines have lost seven straight games to the Buckeyes. When the Wolverines signed Jim Harbaugh back in 2014 to a deal that would make him college’s highest-paid coach at the time, the goal was to win on the biggest stage and defeat the Buckeyes along the way. Jim Harbaugh is currently the first coach in Michigan’s history to start 0-5 against the Buckeyes.
4. For the Pistons to win a playoff game
The Pistons have lost 14 straight playoff games coming into this season, setting the record for the most consecutive playoff game losses by a franchise. The New York Knicks previously held the record at 13 games. Ever since trading Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to the Denver Nuggets for an aging Allen Iverson in 2008, the Pistons have fallen off the rails. The Pistons gave the keys to “Sacred Cow” Rodney Stuckey, but Stuckey was not able to replicate the same success as Billups.
The Pistons made their first playoff appearance since 2009 during the 2015-16 season, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in all four games. The Pistons made the post-season again during the 2018-19 season and lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in all four games in that series as well.
The Pistons have a good chance to make the playoffs again if everyone can stay healthy this season. The Pistons have won four of their last five games and the team is starting to gel together nicely. If the Pistons can keep this momentum going, they should be able to challenge for a bottom seed in this upcoming post-season. Winning a game won’t silence all critics, but it would be a huge step in the right direction after losing 14 straight playoff games.
3. For the Red Wings to make it back to the post-season
For one of NHL’s most storied franchises, just making the playoffs will not suffice with some fans, and that’s understandable. The Detroit Red Wings have danced in the post-season in 62 out of 86 seasons while winning 11 championships along the way, easily the most championships won by a major sports team in Detroit. The Red Wings at one point made it to the post-season 25 straight times, dating back to the 1989-90 season. The Red Wings last made the post-season in 2016, losing in the first round to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since then, the Red Wings have not made the playoffs for three straight years.
The Red Wings used to be a team you either enjoyed to cheer for or loved to root against (if you weren’t from Michigan). While the Red Wings fan-base is still loyal, these last few seasons haven’t been easy.
This year, the Red Wings are led by RW Anthony Mantha in goals (12) and LW Tyler Bertuzzi in assists (15) and points (25). It seems like a while ago now since the Red Wings were led by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. The Red Wings are currently in last place in the league as of this writing, a far cry from where they used to sit just several years ago when they won 48 games during the 2011-12 season.
Red Wings’ legend Steve Yzerman returned this year, stepping in as the Red Wings new Executive Vice President and General Manager. Yzerman won the General Manager of the Year Award in 2015 during his stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming the first General Manager in history to ever do so in Tampa. The hope is that Yzerman can bring some of his magic over from Tampa back home to Detroit.
The Red Wings still have a long way to go before they can be looked at as serious title contenders, but just making it back to the post-season would be a huge stepping stone for our young building blocks.
2. For the Tigers to leave baseball’s basement
The Detroit Tigers have been in MLB’s basement for some time now, finishing in the bottom five in each of the past three seasons. The Tigers were dead last this past season, finishing with a 47-114 record for the season. To make matters worse (or better depending on how you look at it), the Tigers weren’t able to play a full 162 games this year since one of their games against the Chicago White Sox was canceled. Strange enough, this wasn’t the Tiger’s worst season.
In 2003, the Tigers finished 43-119, the worst season in AL history. Just a few years after finishing with the worst season in AL history, in 2006 the Tigers made it to the World Series after finishing the season 95-67. The Tigers were able to make it back to the World Series again in 2012 before losing the series 4-0 against the San Francisco Giants.
The Tigers aren’t expected to make it to the World Series as the 2003 team did, but stranger things have happened. Tigers’ RHP Casie Mize looks promising, and while the Tigers have a long way to go, they still have some promising prospects that could make things interesting again in the AL Central Division in just a couple of short years.
1. For the Fords to sell the Lions
In 1963, William Clay Ford Sr. purchased the Detroit Lions. Since the untimely death of William Clay Ford Sr., Martha Firestone Ford became the principal owner of the Detroit Lions. Since William’s purchase of the Lions, the Lions have only won one playoff game (against the Dallas Cowboys in 1992) and have not won a playoff game in over 10,000 days. In that time span, the Lions have had all-time greats, from RB Barry Sanders to WR Calvin Johnson, but were still unable to win more than one playoff game.
The Lions under the Fords have not been to the Super Bowl. The only other teams in the NFL to have never made the Super Bowl are the Browns, Jaguars, and Texans.
The Lions made history by going 0-16 during the 2008 NFL season.
Fans have been begging for the Fords to sell the team, and at this point, it doesn’t look like Martha will be ready to sell the team anytime soon.