This past weekend was one of celebration for Detroit sports fans.
But, it still doesn’t erase the fact that Detroit pro sports teams have achieved some incredible feats when it comes to futility.
Each of the four teams in Detroit have all caused periods of shame, often at the same time. It’s still been over 5,600 days since a Detroit team has won a league championship.
Now, the Detroit Pistons are on the verge of setting a new standard for losing in the NBA.
Tuesday night, the Pistons host the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. A loss would give Detroit 27 consecutive losses, a new single-season NBA record.
Currently a 6.5-point underdog, the Pistons seemingly have no end in sight for just where this losing streak could go.
How does this shameful streak compare to the lowest moments of Detroit’s other franchises?
1. Detroit Lions go 0-16
Losing over 30% of a season like the Pistons have is one thing, losing 100% is another.
The Detroit Lions were unfortunately the first franchise in NFL history to record an 0-16 season, doing so in 2008. Even more remarkable is the team went 4-0 in the preseason before failing to win a regular season game.
For that reason, this still sits atop the shameful list in Detroit.
The Lions have provided plenty of shame for their fans over the year, but 2008 was the crowning achievement.
Led by Rod Marinelli and his “pad level” the Lions were outscored 268-517 over 16 games. Ten of the games were lost by double figures.
One of the actual close games was a 12-10 loss at Minnesota in which quarterback Dan Orlovsky ran out of the back of the end zone by mistake.
Matt Millen was fired midseason to end one of the worst general manager performances in NFL history. Marinelli would be fired after the season, going 10-38 in three years as head coach.
If it wasn’t for the winless 2017 Cleveland Browns, the Lions would stand alone with this awful honor.
Thankfully Detroit has finally found a winning recipe, earning its first division title in 30 years on Sunday in Minnesota.
2. Detroit Pistons 26+game losing streak
The Pistons could set a new single-season record tonight, and it seems likely.
Detroit is currently tied with the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers and the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers for the longest losing streak in a single season.
The Philadelphia 76ers actually lost 28 straight games as a franchise over two seasons, which stands as the longest losing streak of any kind in NBA history.
Detroit could easily pass that mark this week as well. Along with hosting Brooklyn Tuesday, the Pistons travel to Boston on Thursday and then host Toronto on Saturday. There really is no end in sight.
This streak is more than just a little bad luck as well. Detroit hasn’t been competitive in most games, losing by double figures in 14 of the 26 losses.
All this while having the second-highest paid coach in the league, Monty Williams, on the first year of a six-year contract.
While the Lions went 0-16 and have built their way back to a division title, the Pistons have done the opposite. A franchise that won the 2004 NBA title and the Eastern Conference title in 2005 is now clearly at the bottom of the NBA ladder.
3. Detroit Tigers go 43-119
The 2003 Detroit Tigers pushed the limits of how bad a baseball team can be.
While they surpassed the MLB record of fewest wins in a season by a wide margin, the 43-119 record was the lowest winning percentage the league had seen since 1962.
Modern-era baseball hadn’t seen a team quite like the Tigers.
Tiger great Alan Trammell unfortunately was the manager of this awful team. The big bats in the lineup were Dmitri Young, Craig Monroe, Carols Pena, Eric Munson and Bobby Higginson.
The pitching staff featured a young Jeremy Bonderman, Mike Maroth and Nate Cornejo.
Detroit started the season 0-9 and would consistently have 8-10 game losing streaks. Their longest losing streak was only 11 games. That’s a long way from the 1975 Tigers’ franchise record of 19 games.
For the season, they had a -337 run differential, which pushed the modern-day record of -349 by the 1932 Boston Red Sox.
Detroit was able to turn things around and reach two World Series since that time, but also reverted back to the bottom of the league. Now they currently find themselves trying to secure their first playoff appearance since 2014.
4. Detroit Red Wings record 39 points
The 2019-20 NHL season was cut short for some teams, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings were among the worst teams in hockey history.
Playing 71 games, Detroit went just 17-49-5, finishing with 39 points. While deprived of 11 games due to the pandemic, Detroit’s 39 points were still 23 points shy of the next-worst team, the Ottawa Senators. Even this season’s Red Wings sit at 36 points through 34 games.
Their winning percentage was the worst seen in hockey since 2000. Detroit’s goal differential of -122 was 70 goals worse than the closest competitor.
While not record-setting bad, the Red Wings still were pretty shameful to watch.
The 2019-20 season wasn’t a great introduction for Steve Yzerman as the team’s general manager. Then-coach Jeff Blashill would last another couple of seasons before Yzerman brought in Derek Lalonde as head coach.
The Red Wings are currently in the thick of the playoff race as they seek their first postseason appearance since 2016.