Best Detroit Sports Teams of All Time

Best Detroit Sports Teams of All Time

Detroit is a great sports city with rabid fans.  The NHL Detroit Red Wings are by far the most successful team in the city with 11 Stanley Cup Championships.  The MLB Detroit Tigers (4), NBA Detroit Pistons (3), and NFL Detroit Lions (4) have combined to win 11 championships, although it’s been quite some time since the Lions were relevant to the championship conversation.  Here we look at some of the best Detroit sports teams of all time.

The 1968 Detroit Tigers

The 1968 Detroit Tigers are widely considered one of the best baseball teams ever to take the field. Led by pitcher Denny McClain and a star-studded hitting lineup, they won 103 games in the regular season. Then they won an exciting seven game World Series against the equally powerful St. Louis Cardinals, bringing home Detroit’s first championship in 23 years. Their success captivated fans not just in Michigan but across the country.

From MVP winner McLain to fan favorite “Stormin'” Norm Cash to future Hall of Famer Al Kaline, each one of these iconic figures played their part in inspiring millions with their electrifying play. The ’68 Tigers remain firmly etched in Detroit sports lore for capturing a momentous title.  For many, it seemed like a dream come true, and for those looking to capitalize on future Tigers championships you should go to Michigan sports betting.

The 1989 Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are a proud NBA franchise, with many storied teams performing over the years. Yet perhaps no team is as widely known and remembered as the team known as “The Bad Boys.” Under coach Chuck Daly’s lead, this group won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.

During this stretch of time, Piston’s president Jack McCloskey declared that his team would be aggressive and physical against opponents— a label that has stuck with the team ever since. The Bad Boys relied on tough-minded physical play throughout the season. Led by Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer they controlled both ends of the court with masterful post play; Dennis Rodman was one of the best rebounders in NBA history, finishing his career with 11,954 career rebounds— good for 23rd all-time. The Bad Boys are remembered fondly by basketball fans around Detroit who still wear shirts emblazoned with their vintage logos commemorating success never seen before.

The 1997 Detroit Red Wings

The 1997 Detroit Red Wings are remembered as a hockey dynasty that dominated the NHL. Under the leadership of Captain Steve Yzerman, the historic roster included names such as Nicklas Lidström, Brendan Shanahan, and Chris Osgood who together would win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 1997 and 1998. The Red Wings began their stellar run by breaking Detroit’s single-season record for regular-season wins the previous year, although that 1996 team lost in the conference finals.  With a 12-4 record in winning the first three rounds of the 1997 playoffs the Red Wings had a date with destiny – facing off against Philadelphia’s standout Flyers in their quest for their 8th Stanley Cup Championship.

Ultimately, the Red Wings had little opposition as they swept the Flyers in four games marking one of the most dominant performances ever in Stanley Cup Finals history. Indeed, few teams have come close to rivaling the 1997 Red Wing’s talent level on skates during their dominating 1997-98 back-to-back championship seasons.

Their four-game sweep against Washington enroute to their second consecutive Stanley Cup-winning year in 1998 was evidence of how dominant they were. It is no wonder that they remain etched into fans’ memories across sports leagues more than two decades later!

The 1957 Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have not won a championship in the Super Bowl era. So, we must go back in time for their greatest season. The 1957 Lions were led by Hall of Fame QB Bobby Layne.  However, in a critical regular season game with the Cleveland Browns, Layne broke his ankle and was out for the rest of the season. Fortunately, backup QB Tobin Rote was more than capable and led the Lions to victory.  They ended the regular season with three consecutive wins and an 8–4 record.

Detroit tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the conference title, which required a tiebreaker playoff game in which the Lions rallied from a 24-0 deficit to win 31-27 in San Francisco.   This also marks the last time the Lions have won a playoff game away from home; they are 0-11 on the road in NFL postseason games since.

The Lions were home underdogs for the NFL Championship game the next week against the Browns.  The Lions led 17–0 after the first quarter and won in a rout, 59–14.

Since this championship, the Lions have yet to win, or even return to, another NFL title game.  This is an absence of more than 60 years. It is the fourth-longest drought in all four major sports, and the second-longest in the NFL, behind the Arizona Cardinals. Although the Cardinals, unlike the Lions, have subsequently appeared in the Super Bowl.