Fans in Detroit are patiently waiting for a championship in professional sports. The last time a team from Detroit was crowned champions was the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings. In my opinion, there are five cities in the U.S. that are the “mainstream” sports-cities; New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Detroit. Each of those cities, outside of Detroit, have hoisted at least two championships in the past five years. Detroit’s teams haven’t even brought home one.
New York – The 2009 Yankees won the World Series and the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI (2012).
Los Angeles – The Lakers won back-to-back championships from 2008-10 and the 2011-12 Kings won the Stanley Cup.
Chicago – The Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cups; 2009-10 and 2012-13.
Boston – The Red Sox are the most recent World Series champions and the 2010-11 Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
The last five years have been a mix of terrible teams and dreadful destiny. The Pistons have been an embarrassment to watch, posting a 129-228 record over the past five seasons (including the current one). The Lions, although improving, have still been the “same old Lions”. Their record over the course of the past five seasons is 29-51, that’s not even including the 0-16 season of 2008.
The Red Wings have made the playoffs for 22-consecutive seasons, but they have failed to make it past the Conference Semifinals since the 2008-09 season. The Tigers have won their division three seasons in a row, but have completely fallen apart in the postseason each year.
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So, who will it be? Who will bring the next professional sports championship to the city of Detroit?
One thing is for sure, if it’s the Pistons then fans will be waiting for a long time. The Pistons may be an exciting team to watch from time to time, but in no way are they a championship-caliber team. They’re currently battling to reach the playoffs in a conference that includes only four teams with a winning percentage above .500. Even if they make the postseason this year, they are incapable of making it past the second round. Unless the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers completely change their rosters, it’s going to be difficult to even think about reaching the NBA Finals in the near future.
It would be hard to make a case stating that the Lions will be the next team to bring a championship to Detroit. They just finished the season with a 7-9 record despite having one of the most-talented teams in the league, not to mention it was certainly the most-talented Lions team of the past decade. Moving forward, the Lions are absolutely considered playoff-contenders, but it’s difficult to become championship-contenders with a new coaching staff. I most certainly believe that they have a realistic shot at making the postseason next year, but I’m not confident that they can win a Super Bowl right away.
Any NHL team to make the playoffs can win the Stanley Cup, and eight of the sixteen Eastern Conference teams will make the postseason. The Red Wings are fighting their hardest to stay in the playoff picture, despite countless injuries. Although I don’t find it very likely, I believe that the Wings have a better chance at missing the postseason this year than they do at winning the Stanley Cup.
Mike Ilitch is doing all he can in order to bring a World Series trophy to Detroit. He has footed the bill of one of baseball’s highest payrolls, but is yet to see the desired result. There’s a new skipper in town along with a new approach to the team’s roster. The Tigers are slowly starting to see their window of opportunity to win a championship close, but a culture shake-up might just be what gets them over the hump.
If I had to choose which team would bring the next championship to Detroit, it would have to be the Tigers. They are the closest to a championship-caliber team in terms of their franchise culture and talent on the field. Hopefully it won’t take too long in order to prove me right or wrong.
It has been a long time coming for fans in Detroit but it could be worse, just take a look at the state of Minnesota.