As 2015 comes to an end, we're looking back at the year in Detroit sports. These are some of the best, most memorable, or in some cases, worst moments with our sports teams throughout the year.
The new year opened with an amazing bowl game when Michigan State took on Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. The No. 7 Spartans scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat the No. 4 Bears 42-41 in what became the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl.
Just three days later on Jan. 4, the Detroit Lions took on the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Playoffs Wild Card game. After jumping out to a two-touchdown lead, the Lions blew the lead in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys won 24-20. The biggest story to come out of the game was a pass interference call in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys that was reversed without explanation.
February tends to be a down month in the world of sports as there is no football or baseball, and hockey and basketball are in the middle of the season. On Feb. 25, the Detroit Lions released running back Reggie Bush after he spent two seasons in Detroit. They got back $1.7 million by cutting him.
Two days in March were very important to the Detroit Lions defense. On March 10, the Lions traded with the Baltimore Ravens for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. That's because Ndamukong Suh left the team during free agency.
A day later, Suh signed a record contract with the Miami Dolphins. The six-year, $114 million deal surpassed J.J. Watt's $100 million for six years with Houston.
The Michigan State Spartans Men's Basketball Team also started their run in the NCAA Tournament during March. Ranked seventh, the Spartans beat No. 10 Georgia, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Louisville on their way to the Final Four.
On April 4, the No. 7 Spartans took on the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils in the Final Four. After getting off to a hot start, MSU missed 10 of their last 11 shots to end the first half and lost to Duke 81-61. Duke went on to win the National Championship.
April also meant the end of a playoff run for another Detroit team. The Detroit Red Wings advanced to the playoffs for the 24th straight season. They took on the Tampa Bay Lightning and lead the series 3-2. After losing game 6, the Red Wings were shut out in game 7 on April 29 as the Lightning advanced eventually to the Stanley Cup Finals.
On May 20, nearly three weeks after being eliminated from the playoffs, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock signed a contract to be the new coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Babcock spoke to the media at Joe Louis arena after the announcement and was tearful while talking about his time in Detroit.
The 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix took place on the final weekend in May. A rain-shortened race one on Saturday, May 30 gave Carlos Munoz his first win. On Sunday, May 31, Sebastien Bourdais won race two after taking a gamble on a caution lap.
The next big move in Detroit sports in 2015 was hiring Babcock's replacement. On June 8, the Red Wings announced they hired Jeff Blashill to be the next head coach. Blashill had previously coached the Red Wings' AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.
Though there were no specific ties to Detroit, the U.S. Women's National Team made history when they won the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup on July 5. Carli Lloyd scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the final game against Japan to propel the women to a 4-1 win. It was the first World Cup win since 1999.
July was also a big month for the Detroit Tigers as they were sellers at the trade deadline. On July 30, the Tigers traded starting pitcher David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays for three pitchers. A day later on July 31, they traded Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets.
Just four days after the trade deadline on Aug. 4, the Tigers shocked the entire area when they announced they released General Manager Dave Dombrowski from his contract. Al Avila was promoted to GM after they released Dombrowski.
The U.S. Women's National Team made a stop in Detroit on Sept. 17 at Ford Field during their Victory Tour. The team took on Ghana after Australia backed out just days before the scheduled game due to contract disputes. Fans also gathered at Ford Field on Sept. 16 to watch their favorite players up close during practice.
On Sept. 26, the Tigers also announced that Brad Ausmus would be coaching the team in 2016, contrary to multiple media reports saying he would be fired at the end of the season. "It is my belief, and our collective belief within our baseball operations department, that Brad is the right manager for this team given where the team is, at this point in time, and for us to achieve our goals in 2016," Al Avila said.
One of the best and craziest plays in the country this year happened in Ann Arbor on Oct. 17. The No. 7 Michigan State Spartans stunned the No. 12 Michigan Wolverines on the final play of the game, giving the Spartans a 27-23 win.
The start of November brought some changes to the Detroit Lions front office. On Nov. 5, Martha Ford announced she had fired President Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew. Sheldon White took over on an interim basis.
Five days later on Nov. 10, two former Red Wings were inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov were among the seven inductees in 2015, which also included Peter Karmanos.
On Nov. 19, two weeks after the firings of Lewand and Mayhew, the Lions made their first hire. The team hired Rod Wood as the president. Wood was previously the CEO of Ford Estates.
A week later on Nov. 26, Tom Izzo earned his 500th career win as the Spartans hammered Boston College. "It's Thanksgiving, when you're supposed to give thanks," Izzo said. "I'm thankful for the guys I got, the guys I have and all the people who have helped me have this special win."
After beating Iowa in the Big Ten Championship game, the Michigan State Spartans were given the No. 3 ranking in the College Football Playoff and would take on No. 2 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31. It was the Spartans' first appearance in the College Football Playoff.
On Dec. 9, the Detroit sports community and the WXYZ community lost a friend and colleague as longtime WXYZ Sports Producer Reggie Hall died. He was 58. Reggie was involved in a car accident the weekend before and suffered complications from the accident. A week after his death, the Detroit Titans fan was remembered with a celebration of life at Calihan Hall.
Finally, on Dec. 31, the Spartans took on No. 2 Alabama for the College Football Playoff. Alabama beat MSU 38-0 that night to advance to the College Football Playoff against No. 1 Clemson on Jan. 11.
If you can think of anything we may have missed, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!