With half of the first round now in the books, we move to the Take the Wind Region of the 2015 Best Detroit Lions Name bracket. This region may be the most contentious simply because it has the most fan favorites in it. Some hearts are going to be broken, but that is the cruel reality that comes with a single-elimination bracket. I am sorry in advance.
1 Joique Bell vs. 16 Sam Martin
Joique Bell has been quite the endearing character since the Lions acquired him in late 2011. Sure, his rugged rushing style and his Michigan roots had something to do with his likability, but I sincerely think his unique first name somehow made him even more lovable. The name is so aurally pleasing, I often catch myself squeaking his name anytime he breaks a tackle, much like Chris Berman's "WOOP!"
Sam Martin has two first names, both extremely ordinary. Of course that fits his occupation as a punter, but this isn't a contest for most appropriate name. Sam Martin just doesn't bring anything to the table in this tournament.
8 Darryl Tapp vs. 9 DeAndre Levy
Oh man. This one is going to get ugly. Both guys have solid but not great first names and very pun-able last names. Tapp even has the extra "P" to add some personality to the name. Levy's name, on the other hand, links him to possibly my favorite Led Zeppelin song, "When the Levee Breaks," which is just too fitting for Levy himself. (Side note: If anyone puts a DeAndre Levy highlights package to that song, I will be eternally in debt to you.)
I will be abstaining from this vote. It's too close. You guys are going to have to battle this one out yourselves in the comments section.
5 Skye Dawson vs. 12 Devin Taylor
Skye Dawson is a dark horse candidate in this tournament who has already had a groundswell of support in the comments section. His name is half porn star, half game show host. It's hard to argue against that. Devin Taylor gets some credit for the way Devin is spelled (one letter away from devil, coincidence?), but it's an uphill battle against the likes of Skye Dawson.
4 LaAdrian Waddle vs. 13 Kellen Moore
Official 2015 Name of the Year candidate (albeit a 14 seed) LaAdrian Waddle may feel a little slighted by his four seed in this tournament. I am not above the childish giggle that we all experience when we say the word Waddle, especially when it's concerning a big football player. But I remain a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps he will prove me wrong.
In his first matchup, he faces off against Kellen Moore, the often-mocked third-string quarterback. There's not really a lot to analyze with his name. Kellen is a somewhat unique first name, but there's nothing really interesting about it, and it sounds like a completely ordinary name. However, be wary of the Boise State faction of Pride Of Detroit. They are a powerful, persistent bunch. I will be keeping a close eye on this matchup. All he needs is a chance.
6 Don Muhlbach vs. 11 Cornelius Lucas
This should be another fun matchup. Don Muhlbach is a player who has a strange cult following, which I still don't completely comprehend. His uncommon last name has led to the endearing nickname "Muhldozer," but I'm not sure nicknames should really factor into this tournament.
Cornelius Lucas is severely underseeded, and that is just a mistake on my part. I can't NOT say his name in a British accent. Such a regal and dignified-sounding name has no place in football, which makes it absurdly entertaining.
3 Crezdon Butler vs. 14 Jordan Thompson
This one should be over quickly. Crezdon is such an amazing name. It's feels crunchy and creamy at the same time. It sounds like a name a new screenwriter would give an alien being after crossing out Blaxtor and Flongus. And to follow it up with such a conventional last name is just delicious. Jordan Thompson is an utterly bland name that very well could have been a 16 seed.
7 Kyle Van Noy vs. 10 Stephen Tulloch
Kyle Van Noy is our only three-named entry in the tournament. This could be a blessing or a curse (see: Tommy Lee Jones vs. Sarah Jessica Parker). His name's proximity to Kyle Vanden Bosch may be enough to deter a handful of voters, but I have to say, I am a pretty big fan of his name. Specifically, I like how the second and third names just kind of blend into each other. I'm also a big fan of that "oy" sound, which we saw with first round winner Ryan Broyles.
Stephen Tulloch answers with a pretty solid last name of his own. Tulloch sounds hard and complete. You finish that name with a hard "K" sound and that's it. A nice, abrupt exclamation to end a name.
This one comes down to personal preference (as opposed to all of the other clear, factual, better names). Do you prefer the playful, three-named player or the rough, abrupt sound of Tulloch?
2 Darius Slay vs. 15 Calvin Johnson
We round out the Take the Wind Region with a classic matchup. The No. 1 wide receiver vs. the No. 1 cornerback. Enemies on the practice field now pitted against each other in a bracket of death.*
Unfortunately, there's not much of a contest here. For as extraordinary as the man is, Calvin Johnson's name is anything but. Darius Slay, however, has one of the most enviable last names in the NFL. I am a big fan of verbs as last names (see: Waddle), and when it's such an aggressive name, it is just too perfect for a football player, especially a defensive player.
Sorry, Calvin. I guess you're just going to have to settle with being one of the best athletes in the game and a great human being.
*no one is actually dying