What a difference a little bit of time makes. Let’s do a little flashback, shall we?
On Christmas in 2019 it seemed like the Detroit sports world was in the deepest hole it’s maybe ever been in. The Lions had just fired yet another coach a few weeks earlier and were putting the final touches on a five-win season. Across the street, the Tigers had just finished the season in September with one of the worst records in the major league. The Pistons were underway on what would be a 20-win season. The Red Wings were at the beginning of a season that would have them finishing with the worst record in the NHL.
It was just a brutal time to be a Detroit sports fan.
Today in 2022, the records aren’t much better, but there’s a feeling in the air that you just can’t ignore and it feels like good things are on their way. Of course, some of those good things are already here. The Pistons found their future superstar in Cade Cunningham, Red Wings defensemen Mo Seider won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie, and the Tigers have some young players that are up and coming and they may finally make the necessary changes needed to route this franchise in the right direction again.
Then there’s the Lions. Once the laughing stock of the entire city and now you can’t help but smile when you think about the possibility that this team is about to explode into the stratosphere of wins and great moments.
Look, there’s no proof that the Lions are driving the comeback train for this city and its’ sports. I can’t show you the numbers and I can’t say that the Lions doing the right things somehow magically affected the other teams in town.
What I can tell you is that of all the feelings I feel about this city and its sports teams, the positive feelings all seemed to start with the Lions and have trickled their way down to the rest of the teams.
The Lions are at the forefront of a new culture in this city’s sports landscape. The Lions rid themselves of the toxicity that had plagued them for years when they fired the previous staff and hired the right people. Since then, the culture has been that of teamwork, emotion, family, and the feeling like we’re climbing out of this hole together.
You may remember that picture of Joe Dumars, Barry Sanders, Steve Yzerman, and Cecil Fielder at the Tigers game, and can get you wondering when the city of Detroit might be able to replicate something like that with new stars. Detroit might finally have the stars to do such a thing.
Along with all that, the Lions are putting an even bigger spotlight on the city this summer when they will be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Then in 2024, the Lions brought the NFL Draft to town. It’s truly a really exciting time to be a Detroit sports fan.
There’s still a lot of work to be done. None of the Detroit teams finished their season with a winning record this year and the Tigers are on their way to joining them. Still, you can clearly see that each franchise is on the mend. The Lions may very well be a playoff team in 2022, which would certainly help keep the ball rolling for this city. Maybe the Pistons and Red Wings would follow their lead with playoff berths too? The Tigers still seem like it’s going to take a bit, but there is still hope.
Detroit hasn’t had a team win a playoff game (football) or a playoff series since 2013. Yes, you read that right. The Lions have the best shot to end that streak first. I say one more time, what a difference a little bit of time makes.