Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

A Bad Sports City Right Now

09/13/2021 at 9:39am EDT

from Andrew Mooney of FiveThirtyEight,

The Red Wings seamlessly transitioned from generational talent to generational talent, as the aging superstars that had restored the franchise to glory — including Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov — passed the torch to stars-in-the-making Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, perennially contending for Stanley Cups along the way....

The past few years have seen the four remaining major sports franchises in Detroit battling to stay out of last place, let alone look competitive. After a prolonged period of sustained success, a Michigander could be excused for imagining the present situation to be historically grim. But in this case, it isn’t just recency bias that’s driving such feelings: The data confirms that Detroit sports are currently mired in an unprecedented three-year run of ignominy.

To quantify Motown’s misery and find its place in the hierarchy of sports cities, I first grouped franchises in five major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA) according to the metropolitan area that they call home. I limited my sample to only those metropolitan areas that had at least one franchise from at least three of the five professional leagues. I then analyzed the regular-season standings for each season since 19971 (the first year of play in the WNBA) to arrive at a normalized metric for futility for a given city.

I translated each team’s winning percentage at the end of the regular season2 into a set of z-scores to find how many standard deviations a metropolitan area’s3 winning percentage was from the mean that season. I then took the average of the z-scores for the metropolitan areas that had at least one team in at least three of the five leagues to arrive at a final futility index. Here are the 15 worst seasons for a city in the past 25 years:


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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that.

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