Most Successful Detroit Sports Teams in History

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Since 2017, Detroit is now the only US city to have sports teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL play within its downtown district. And those teams are some of the oldest and most successful sports teams in the country. Read on to find out more.

Detroit Lions 

The Lions undoubtedly deserve a place on this list, as the team has won the NFL champions four times. However, the Detroit Lions have not won since 1957. That makes them the club with the second-longest championship drought, behind the Arizona Cardinals who last won in 1947. Likewise, the Lions have been in operation for every season of the Super Bowl since it started, but the team has never actually played in the Super Bowl. The NFL team, who play at Fort Field, has seen some of football’s most memorable and skillful players since it emerged in 1929. They include the legendary Joe Schmidt, hard-nosed Bobby Layne, and Barry Sanders, who is one of the greatest NFL players to have ever picked up a ball. 

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Detroit Tigers

Since their formation in 1894, the Detroit Tigers have won the Major League Baseball World Series championship four times, in 1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984. The Tigers have also won 11 American League pennants, four American League Central division championships, and several division titles. Since 2000, the team has played home games at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit.

The Tigers were a member of the original 1894 Western League. Today, the team is the only Western League team to remain in its original city. The Tigers are also the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in the American League. Over the decades, the Detroit Tigers have had some very notable names playing, including Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Ty Cobb.

Detroit Pistons

The professional basketball team, the Detroit Pistons, has won three National Basketball Association championships. In 1989, they beat the formidable Los Angeles Lakers, and in the following season, they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in five close games. The Pistons won their third NBA championship in 2004 when they faced the Lakers again. Indeed, the Pistons pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of the NBA when they crushed the Lakers four games to one.

Founded as the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1941, the team also won two NBL championships in 1944 and 1945. Today, the Detroit Pistons play their home games in midtown-Detroit at Little Caesars Arena. Over the decades, the Pistons have seen such incredible players as Joe Dumars, Ben Wallace, and Isiah Thomas. 

Detroit Red Wings


Detroit may be well-known for its football, baseball, and basketball teams. But above all, the city is known for its avid ice hockey fans. Indeed, fans and sports commentators now affectionately call Detroit “Hockeytown.” 

At the heart of Hockeytown is Detroit’s very-own Red Wings. Formed in 1926, when the team was known as the Detroit Cougars, it is one of the six original teams of the National Hockey League. Their greatest successes came between 1983 and 2016, when they made the playoffs 30 times, including 25 straight from 1990 to 2016. In 2006, the Red Wings achieved the record for the longest active streak of postseason appearances in all US professional sports. The Detroit Red Wings have won the Stanley Cup championships more than any other US franchise. The Stanley Cup was won by the team four times, in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008. With players like Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, and Nicklas Lidstrom, it is no wonder the Red Wings have maintained a reputation for being the best over the years. And it looks as though Detroit will be called Hockeytown for quite some time yet.