The first-round dust has settled and we are left with 32 competitors. Round 1 of the Detroit Lions Name Tournament saw the demise of many heroes (RIP Larry Warford) and the failed opportunities for those finally given a chance (you just need a change of scenery, Kellen Moore). In the end, the fans have spoken, and I truly believe we are left with the best 32 names on the Lions' roster. Here's a look at the updated bracket:
Round 2 will be split into two parts, and it is going to get rough. Feelings will get hurt, comments will get heated, but most importantly, there will be puns. Lots and lots of puns. Let's get started.
1 Braxston Cave vs. 8 Nate Ness
Braxston Cave cruised to comfortable 95-5 percent victory over worst-name-in-the-tournament Michael Williams. Let's hope Braxston doesn't get a little too comfortable in his winning ways, because things get considerably harder here in the second round.
Nate Ness (won in the first round 72-28) not only has the superhero alter ego thing going for him, but I also like combining his names together to form a noun that can describe anything he does. Nate Ness knocked down that pass with some nateness in his step. Nate Ness may lack in speed, but he's overflowing with nateness.
Still, I give Braxston the edge here, because I'm a big fan of unnecessary S's and spelunking.
5 Bill Bentley vs. 4 Xavier Proctor
Bill Bentley overcame the controversy surrounding his "real" name and eased to a 77-23 victory over Josh Bynes in the first round. The more I look at this name, the more unimpressed I am by it. However, I am tickled by its proximity to BILL BRASKY, which leads me to sometimes yell "BILL BENTLEY IS A SON OF A B****!" when he's on the field. Unfortunately that happens so infrequently that it hasn't caught on... yet.
Bill Bentley may be 7-foot-9 and 832 pounds, but he's still an underdog against Xavier Proctor, who disposed of golden boy Matthew Stafford in the first round, 79-21. I'm not sure whether Xavier reminds me more of the college basketball team or the bizarre cartoon Xavier: Renegade Angel (created by the people who made the criminally forgotten Wonder Showzen). Either way, it's a phenomenal name, and Proctor still makes me laugh because butts are funny.
6 James Ihedigbo vs. 3 Tahir Whitehead
James "eye-he-dieg-bo" Ihedigbo strolled into the second round with an easy win over Brandon Pettigrew, 89-11. It's going to be tough for Ihedigbo to make it deep in this tournament as a one-dimensional name, but it's one of the best last names in the field. After you learn how to properly pronounce the name, it's just so much fun to say. It's an amazing combination of hard consonants and strong vowels.
Tahir Whitehead (winner of his first-round matchup, 91-9) is a much more well-rounded name. In fact, it's the only name that seems like it is insulting you when you say it. "Come here, whitehead," it seems to mockingly say to you. And while it may make me feel a little self-conscious for my younger, more puberty-filled self, it's that sort of aggressive name that makes him such a strong contender in this tournament.
7 Joseph Fauria vs. 2 Isa Abdul-Quddus
Joseph Fauria somehow twerked his way to the second round, upsetting Alex Reno-favorite Larry Warford in the closest matchup of the first round, 55-45. I'm still not entirely sure how he pulled off the upset after trailing for most of the day, but Reno's theory is that Lil Rufio was involved. I am currently investigating this.
In the meantime, Fauria must defend his victory against mouthful Isa Abdul-Quddus, who easily beat TJ Jones, 86-14. I have a hard time imagining Abdul-Quddus' run ending here, but Fauria has already staged one upset. QUDDUS!
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 8 Andrew Peacock
Ansah had one of the strongest showings in the first round, disposing of his foe 94-6. His name is extra versatile, because I don't know whether it's more fun to call him Ezekiel or Ziggy. As for his last name, here is the Ansah Pun of the Round: AN-SAHHHHH THE PHONE, I KNOW THAT YOU'RE HOME. Have fun with that stupid song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Andrew Peacock has the world's most ridiculous bird in his name. It also has the word "cock" in it. Grow up, people. Send Ansah to the Sweet 16.
5 Ryan Broyles vs. 4 Riley Reiff
Ryan Broyles had a fairly easy time over the underseeded Rodney Austin, 71-29. I like Broyles, both for his name and his personality. But I desperately wish his name was Bryan Broyles. With that B, Broyles would turn into a two seed and may be the favorite to get out of the Things of that Nature Region. Without it, he likely won't make it to the Sweet 16.
Riley Reiff kicked Matt Prater to the curb in the first round, 86-14. It's a shame Riley Reiff hasn't been the dominant left tackle the Lions want, otherwise he would almost certainly be called The Great Barrier Reiff. Still, alliteration plus punable should equal a second-round win.
6 Nevin Lawson vs. 3 Taylor Boggs
Lawson defeated Dan Orlovsky 12-10 in the first round. [EDITOR'S CORRECTION: That was the score of the game Orlovsky lost by running out of the end zone. Lawson defeated Orlovsky 69-31.] One thing I just noticed about the name Nevin Lawson is how much it sounds like Navin Johnson, the main character in the wonderfully absurd movie The Jerk. If I ever get the chance to interview Nevin Lawson, my first question will be, "Why do you hate these cans?"
Taylor Boggs routed Don Carey 79-21 in the first round. Of course, Taylor Boggs shares a last name with baseball great Wade Boggs, who was once rumored to have drank 107 beers in one day. Somehow, Boggs is still alive today. Also important: sometimes Taylor is a girl's name.
7 George Winn vs. 2 Jermelle Cudjo
George Wonn his opening matchup against Larry Webster 65-35. The modest victory is a symbol of his modest name. With only a punable name -- albeit a very cocky name -- Winn doesn't have the depth to go far in this tournament. Winn can turn into "win" or "when" and that's about it. I think this is where the Winn-ing streak ends...
Because Jermelle Cudjo is an unstoppable behemoth of a name. Not even the namesake of The Daily Show's most recent retiree could slow down Cudjo. I still haven't decided whether I like the name Jermelle or Cudjo better, but together they're a beautiful tapestry.