5 Times Detroit Sports Fans Had Reason To Give Up Hope In 2019

When will Detroit be a thriving sports city again?

97.1 The Ticket
November 29, 2019 - 1:47 pm

© Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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97.1 The Ticket -- It's no secret the last few years have been tough on Detroit sports fans. The decade started with a good amount of promise and ended in despair. 

No major sports city has had it worse as the decade draws to a close, and in 2019 it got pretty bad. Every fan wants to be excited about the future. We want our teams to prosper. That's the whole point of being a sports fans. But this year, we found it pretty hard to be optimistic at times. 

Here's a look back at just a few times Detroit sports fans had reason to give up hope.

Tigers trade deadline

Al Avila and the Tigers have been in a treacherous rebuild process for a couple of years now. There was really no way around it after a spending-heavy push for a championship in the beginning of the decade came up dry.

At this year's trade deadline, the Tigers had a handful of solid players to try and move in exchange for some more pieces for the future. But when a couple of last-second deals at the deadline only yielded four mid-range prospects -- three of which were pitchers -- many Tigers fans were not thrilled. The moves came as Detroit posted a 5-20 record in July, with no real promising prospects on the immediate horizon.

Avila said he was puzzled by the fans' negative reaction, but many couldn't get past the fact that the haul only included one position player, a glaring need for the organization. While 25-year-old outfielder Travis Demeritte played almost immediately and had a decent showing, the Tigers' near future still isn't looking too bright.

The Lions' debacle in the desert

Say what you will about the start to the Lions season -- which saw a pair of wins against solid teams and a near win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs -- the writing was on the wall from the very beginning.

Detroit had raced off to a 24-6 lead over Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, with T.J. Hockenson's hauling in five catches and 119 yards for a touchdown looking 100% worthy of the No. 8 overall pick through the first three quarters. But then the Same Old Lions showed up to finish the game.

Murray looked more like a dominant veteran than the struggling rookie that was on the field to start the game. The Lions got lit up by Murray in the final quarter, throwing for the majority of his 308 yards and two touchdowns down the stretch to force overtime, where neither team could claim victory.

The Lions settle for a tie. Against a rookie quarterback and a rookie coach. That was about as SOL as it gets. Even after looking a little more promising in the next few games, the season devolved into a lost cause when...

Questionable penalties cost the Lions a game in Green Bay

Whether you believe the Lions had plenty of other opportunities to beat the Packers or the officials truly stole the game away, this one hurt.

On Monday Night Football, the Lions were looking to take control of the division in hostile territory. Many Lions fans felt their hearts ripped out in agonizingly familiar fashion when Trey Flowers was called for a seemingly non-existent hands-to-the-face penalty late in the game. The call effectively ended the Lions' chances of winning the game. Rather than Mason Crosby trying a mid-to-long-range field goal with plenty of time on the clock for another potential Matthew Stafford comeback, the drive was extended and Crosby made a chip shot as time expired.

The NFL admitted the officials got it wrong. But Flowers didn't care. The damage was already done. Right then and there, many fans could already sense the season was all but over.

Red Wings drop eight in a row after promising start

The Red Wings started this season with three wins in four games, all against teams many thought would be staunch playoff teams. But by the end of October, it would become apparent there will be no sneaking into the playoffs next spring.

In the ensuing eight-game losing streak, the Wings were outscored 34-13 and any hope had gone out the window after the leaky defense was exposed.

While the hiring of General Manager Steve Yzerman in the offseason definitely has many Detroit fans optimistic for the future, any real success is going to have to be put on hold for the time being. That wasn't the only lengthy losing streak they've posted this year, either. The Wings enter Friday's game at Philadelphia having lost seven in a row.

Pistons back into the playoffs

Let's preface this by saying if you're making the playoffs, it can't be all that bad. But when the Pistons were sitting in 6th place with 10 days to go last season, the optimists were hoping to land a playoff date with the 76ers in the 3-6 matchup. Or even a 2-7 matchup with Toronto, a team they beat three times last season.

But instead, the Pistons lost four of their final six games and ended the year clinging to the 8-seed and a showdown with the top-seeded Bucks.

The Pistons went on to be swept out of the first round, highlighting the fact that they'd be going nowhere any time soon.

Will the new decade bring any new hope to Detroit sports or will it begin with more of the same in 2020?