Edson: Michigan Sports Fans Need A Championship Team
We need a champion.
The sports fans of Michigan are desperate for a team that sweeps us off our feet and takes us to Title Town.
It can be any of the Detroit teams – the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings or Pistons.
Or it can be either of our Big Ten teams – Michigan or Michigan State.
We need a team that takes our mind off poor officiating, bad management and inept players.
Miracles do happen, you know.
As we stand at this moment, the best shot we have at either a pro or college championship team is this year’s Michigan State basketball team.
Coach Tom Izzo has a stacked lineup returning, including Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston. But the NCAA waters are loaded with sharks, including the usual suspects Duke, Kentucky and Kansas.
But it does give state basketball fans something to look forward to. And don’t overlook Juwan Howard’s Michigan basketball team. The Wolverines lost a lot of key players, but Howard is already getting several four-star and five-star recruits into his program.
As for the Detroit teams, the most interesting to me right now are the Pistons and the Red Wings.
I think the Pistons – with the addition of Darrick Rose and the rise of Luke Kennard – will make the playoffs and possibly get to the second round. But that’s where this team maxes out with its talent.
The Red Wings, on the other hand, have the best long range forecast of the four Detroit teams. New general manager Steve Yzerman is putting together a solid club that will have growing pains in the next two years but will slowly emerge as a Stanley Cup contender.
Those two teams will give us something to look forward to this winter.
The Lions? Nothing has really changed. Sure, the officials took the game away from them in Green Bay. But let’s be realistic. If it isn’t the officiating, it’s coaching, dropped passes or defensive mistakes. It’s always something.
The Curse of Bobby Layne is alive and well in the Motor City.
And the Tigers? This is a tough organization for me to figure out. I like Al Avila and the Ilitch family. I’m just not sure they are going about this rebuild the right way.
The team talks about the need for positional players, but then trades away its young (27) and best hitter (Nick Castellanos) during the season. I know there are a lot of good young pitchers in the pipeline, but somewhere along the line we’ll need some solid players in the field to back them up.
I think Michigan sports fans have been more than patient with all the promises we’ve heard.
Now it’s time for our major sports teams to start showing they are on the right track to taking us to the Promised Land.
Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.