In 1905, several University of Detroit football players, led by Bill Marshall, organized the Heralds as an amateur team after the university did not field a squad. While the university's football team resumed play in 1906, the Heralds continued to play as an amateur team. In 1911, the team dropped its amateur status and became semi-professional. In 1916, several out-of-town players were brought in to replace some of the older players, several of whom had been with the Heralds since 1905.
Despite not being based in Ohio, the Heralds played many of their games against teams in the Ohio League. In 1917, the team recorded an 8–2 record, their only losses coming at the hands of the Ohio League champion Canton Bulldogs and a military team from Battle Creek. The Heralds were a rarity in 1918; while most teams either stopped play or reduced their schedules to only local teams because of World War I and the flu pandemic, the Heralds continued to play a full schedule and even travel to other cities, accruing a 6–2 record with both losses coming to the Ohio League champion Dayton Triangles. In 1919, as the suspended teams resumed play and travel restrictions eased significantly, the Heralds went 1–4–2, including losses to Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers.
In 1920, the American Professional Football Association, predecessor to the National Football League, was established. While the Heralds did not officially join the association, they are listed in league standings for the season. Overall, the Heralds went 2–3–3.
The Heralds were reorganized into the Detroit Tigers, after the city's major league baseball team, for the 1921 season. However, after a tie and a win in their first two games, the Tigers lost the next five. Several players complained about not getting paid and left the team during the season. The team officially folded at the end of the season in mid-November. Its remaining players were given to the Buffalo All-Americans.