Inside the standings: Detroit

The best and worst of Detroit over the past 25 years:

Overall winning percentage: .488 (21st)

Best year: 1997 (.571 combined winning percentage)

Pistons (54-28), Red Wings (94 points), Lions (9-7), Tigers (79-83).

The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, the Pistons and Lions made the playoffs and the Tigers were a surprising 79-83.

Worst year: 2001

Detroit's franchises have all suffered through major ups and downs in the last 25 years, and while all four were never in a downturn at the same time, it was a rough 2001:

  • The Tigers went 66-96.

  • The Pistons went 32-50.

  • The Lions went 2-14.

  • The Red Wings (111 points) were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Los Angeles.

    Best moment: Hey, it's not called Hockeytown for nothing.

    In 1996, the Red Wings compiled 131 points, the second-most in NHL history, but shockingly lost in the playoffs. That made the run the next season to the Stanley Cup title -- Detroit's first since 1955 -- all the sweeter. The Wings swept the Flyers for the Cup.

    Worst moment: Losing the Cup Finals in '95 hurt; Bird's steal from Isiah hurt; the Tigers' wretched display over the past decade has hurt. But does the name Marty Mornhinweg ring a bell? The Lions' coach made one of the worst decisions in coaching history when he elected to kick the ball at the start of an overtime. Detroit lost.

    Best team: 2002 Red Wings

    The Pistons, Tigers and Red Wings have all won championships in the ESPN era, but the 2002 Wings, which scored 116 points and went 16-7 in the playoffs to capture the Stanley Cup, featured a slew of All-Stars and future Hall Famers: Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov and Dominik Hasek.

    Worst team: 2003 Tigers

    Detroit fans know a lot about losing. The '86 Red Wings were a miserable 17-57-6. The '80 Pistons, coached for a spell by Dick Vitale, went 16-66. The Lions went 2-14 in 1979 and 2001.

    But it's hard to top the 2003 Tigers -- one of the teams ever, of any city. The Tigers just avoided an all-time record by losing 119 games. They started 1-17. They scored 591 runs and allowed 928. They did, however, win five of their last six to avoid the '62 Mets' mark of 120 losses.

    Best individual season: Barry Sanders, 1997

    Willie Hernandez was an MVP closer in '84, Isiah Thomas was an annual All-Star, Sergei Fedorov was the NHL MVP in '94, but Barry Sanders in 1997 was a one-man wrecking crew: he rushed for 2,053 yards, averaging a remarkable 6.1 yards per carry, scored 14 TDs and led the Lions into the playoffs.

  • Disagree? Discuss the best and worst Detroit moments and athletes at the Tigers message board.