ESPN The Magazine recently released its 2010 Ultimate Team Rankings, which is a comprehensive list that ranks all of the teams from the big four professional sports leagues. The rankings, on a general level, are based on what the teams "give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them." The specific categories that help determine the rankings are as follows: bang for the buck, fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium experience, players, coaching and title track.
Considering those categories, it should come as no surprise that the Red Wings finished highest out of all the Detroit teams, ranking eighth on the overall list. Only the Tigers even came close to that, as they are ranked at No. 33. The Pistons and Lions are ranked 93rd and 112th, respectively, showing you just how quickly things can change.
While the Lions and Red Wings have both been pretty consistent in these rankings, with the Wings usually coming in as a top ten team and the Lions coming in as one of the worst, the Tigers and Pistons have moved up and down the list in a big way recently.
The Tigers went from being one of the lowest-rated teams to being in the top ten. The move was made possible by an amazing turnaround and a World Series appearance in 2006, and although the Tigers are down to No. 33 now, they were in and around the top ten for a couple years.
The Pistons are quickly going in the wrong direction. They were always one of the consistently highly-rated teams on this list, but now they are heading closer and closer to the Lions, which is not a direction you want to go in. Going back to 2003, here is where the Pistons were ranked each year:
Going from a team that is at least in the Eastern Conference championship game every year to a mediocre team that misses the playoffs will kill your ranking, but it's hard to believe how much things have changed in just a short few years. The Pistons used to be one of the best on the Ultimate Team Rankings because of consistent success on the court, a great experience for fans, great ownership and an awesome group of players. Now? Well, all of those things are gone. The success has turned into losing, making for a less-than-thrilling experience for fans; the ownership is in the process of changing; and a great core of franchise players is now just a washed up Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. To say the least, the Pistons' fall from grace is one few teams can match.