Now that the Detroit Lions are on hiatus for another six weeks (except for the rookies), it is time to focus our attention back on the important things in life. Chief among those important things are stupid brackets that basically amount to nothing but a time-filler, yet for some reason draws a fair amount of passion and ire from yours truly.
The first two rounds of the 2016 Detroit Lions Name Bracket are history, and we are down to just 16 names left. Here’s a look at the updated field:
As you can see, most of the competitors that deserved to be here are here. We have all six-seeds or higher, except for one A’Shawn Robinson. I’ll speak more on this later, but I want you to know right now, I’m disappointed in you. Yes, you. Not anyone else reading this. Just you. Let’s get this thing going, even though I’m so disappointed in you I can hardly concentrate.
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 4 Quandre Diggs
Ansah continues to blow this tournament like the defending champion he is. He won his first matchup against Isaiah Johnson 94-6, then followed it up with a complete destruction of Nevin Lawson 89-11. Ansah has yet to find a real competitor in the two years of this tournament, and it is beginning to worry me. Especially since I think it’s a very overrated name at this point.
But he may have some competition here in Quandre Diggs, who is in his first tournament of his career. Diggs had no problem showing Stevan Ridley the exit in the first round, but Wallace Gilberry proved a somewhat worthy adversary, as Diggs only beat him 79-21, a moderate margin of victory by Name Bracket standards.
Maybe it is just familiarity at this point, but I think Ezekiel Ansah has just lost its appeal at this point. Ezekiel, when you think about it, is not all that unique, even though it’s biblical connotations give it strength. And Ansah, while extremely punnable, actually feels like a bit of a chore to say. "Ahhhhn-sahhh." Just let me say An-sa.
Quandre Diggs, on the other hand, is fresh, unique and just fun. I love the last name Diggs. In fact, of all 60s terminology, I wish "Ya dig?" stuck around the most. It still lingers in common-day vernacular, but I want it to be commonplace to answer "Do promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" with "I do, ya dig?"
3 Jace Billingsley vs. 2 Ameer Abdullah
With some help from his father, Jace Billingsley strolled his way into the Sweet 16, despite having a somewhat tough road there for a three-seed. Geoff Schwartz and Laken Tomlinson both weren’t enough to topple the undrafted rookie.
This is also Ameer Abdullah’s first tournament, but he’s been playing like an experienced veteran. Darrin Walls? Crushed. Gabe Ikard? More like "Lame Bye-kard."
This will be an interesting matchup. I suspect Abdullah will win because of general popularity, alliteration and the exotic sound to it. But Jace is just a top-notch name. At first, I thought he may have shared a name with a character from Mortal Kombat (it was Jade, not Jace), but upon my research, I found out someone named Jace Hall created a kickass Mortal Kombat rap. Enjoy the fruits of my procrastination.
1 Golden Tate vs. 5 DeAndre Levy
Last year’s runner up, Golden Tate, has yet to be challenged in this tournament. Devin Taylor and Glover Quin never stood a chance. Golden Tate continues to dominate this bracket on the strength of his last name alone. This combined with perhaps a lackadaisical attitude could put him on upset alert, but Golden is so...perfect.
DeAndre Levy doesn’t deserve to be here. I’m sorry, he just doesn’t. He has a fine name, but it’s no Zaviar Gooden. Levy edged out Gooden 52-48 in what I can only assume was a blatant case of voter fraud. But the Name Bracket is a dirty game, and if someone has the gumption to stuff the ballot box, I will actually reward that passion. I may disagree, but, damnit, I respect the process.
Anyway, Tate is going to win this one handily, so just make it happen.
3 Crezdon Butler vs. 2 Johnson Bademosi
This is my favorite matchup of the entire sweet 16. These two phenomenal names would be worthy champions in the Name Bracket tournament, as they shine on their own, without any help from the players themselves.
Last year, I lamented Crezdon Butler’s early exit in the tournament, having been taken down in the sweet 16 by Darius Slay. If Butler once again falters in the same round, I would happily accept the results.
Because let’s talk about Johnson Bademosi for a second. He has two last names. You aren’t supposed to trust someone with two first names, so by my faulty logic, Johnson Bademosi is the most trustworthy man on the planet. I may be getting too emotionally involved in this tournament, but I treat Johnson’s first name as a tribute to the late Calvin Johnson. Vote Johnson/Bademosi. See, his name alone works as a party ticket. What else do you need?
1 Tahir Whitehead vs. 4 Khaseem Greene
Of all the competitors, Tahir Whitehead has been the second most dominant name through two rounds of the tournament. Andre Caldwell and Adam Fuehne combined for just 15 percent of votes against the dominant Whitehead. The Dominant Whitehead almost sounds like a wrestler’s name.
Tahir Whitehead is a no-nonsense, all-business type of name. No person named Tahir Whitehead is capable of being bullied or losing an arm wrestling match. It is the toughest name in this bracket without a doubt.
But he will face off against a name that has the exact opposite strength: playfulness. Khaseem Greene is melodic and just happy. Green barely overtook Cornelius Lucas in the previous round (53-47), and I just don’t think his "Kill him with kindness" strategy will work again Whitehead. Should be an easy win for The Dominant Whitehead.
6 Graham Glasgow vs. 2 Miles Killebrew
Graham Glasgow had one of the bigger upsets of the second round, downing Quinshad Davis by a 64-36 margin. This could be a case of Wolverine ballot stuffing, or perhaps you all appreciate alliteration more than I thought you did. I love the name Graham Glasgow, but not as much as I love the name Quinshad.
But regardless of who came on top in that matchup, they weren’t going to stand much of a chance against Miles Killebrew, who is probably the favorite to win the Take the Wind Region at this point. Miles Killebrew sounds like the name of the greatest marathon ever created. Drink a beer after every mile completed. Move over Tough Mudder, it’s The Miles Killebrew Marathon.
1 Zach Zenner vs. 12 A’Shawn Robinson
If the first two rounds of the Name Bracket tournament have taught me anything, it’s that y’all love you some Zs. Zenner has had the most dominant performance through two rounds, with his opponents just grabbing 13 percent of the votes combined. It’s hard to argue against Zenner. Rarely do you see a contestant with a Z first name (RIP Zaviar Gooden), but to follow that up with another Z name is just great naming by his parents. Paul and Carol Zenner: You the real MVPs.
A’Shawn Robinson does not only not belong to be here, he barely deserves to be in this tournament. If you have voted for him in any round, you are a bad person. You clearly don’t understand the seriousness of this tournament and are voting without contemplating the nuances of each name. I please ask that you exit out of your browser, and throw whatever device you are using into the nearest volcano pit. Your vote is not welcome here. Now go sit in the naughty corner and think about what you’ve done.
ZZ, put this guy out of his misery.
3 Haloti Ngata vs. 2 Darius Slay
We finish this tournament with a huge matchup between two Name Bracket veterans. Both of these names made it to the elite eight last year, but only one will make it there this year. Both of these names fell victim to Golden Tate in 2015, but will have the chance to redeem themselves in 2016.
I have no clever commentary on these impressive names. I’m just damned excited to see where the votes go. Let’s hear it.