The first round of the Detroit Lions Name Bracket tournament is easy. It's like taking the pain of a shot in the gums before dental surgery. Initially, the pain is minimal, but you know Hell is coming the next time that door opens. We may have lost some mild contenders in the opening round, but the real pain and agony are ahead of us. And that arduous journey begins today. Some good men will fall today, and we're going to have to look ourselves in the mirror as the ones culpable for ending their dreams. It's not a good feeling, but it's a feeling we've resigned ourselves to. This is our duty. This is our curse.
1. Ezekiel Ansah vs. 9. Nevin Lawson
Ansah plowed through the first round, like he always does, disposing of Isaiah Johnson 94 percent to six. This has been Ansah's -- the returning champion - MO since the Name Bracket's inception. I'm still not entirely sure what is so appealing about his name, but at the same time I completely understand. Ezekiel is so incredibly biblical and the name, on its own, demands respect. Ansah is basically the word answer and that seems to tickle people to no end. It's a fine name, but it just seems to be losing its allure after three seasons.
Nevin Lawson completed the first upset of the 2016 tournament, edging out Tyrunn Walker 56-44. I feel like I've run "The Jerk" comparison into the ground with Nevin, so here's something new: Nevin is a somewhat popular surname that may originate from the Irish word Cnamh, meaning "a bone."
Lawson is the underdog in the tournament you so badly want to win, but know he doesn't stand much of a chance. Ansah is a behemoth that may very well be unstoppable. He's a monster of our own creation. Now we must watch him scorch the Earth, helplessly.
5. Wallace Gilberry vs. 4. Quandre Diggs
Here we go. This is the first premier matchup of the tournament. On one end, we've got the regal Wallace Gilberry. On the other end, the mathematical-tough guy hybrid, Quandre Diggs. Here's the tale of the tape:
Record: 1-0 (59 percent over Kyle Van Noy)
Origin of name: Unknown
Urban Dictionary definition: None
Best puns: Gilburied, Ding-Gilberry, Form a f****** Wallace
Record: 1-0 (94 percent over Stevan Ridley)
Origin of name: United States
Urban Dictionary definition: Diggs - Another term used to describe recently added or updated videos to a pornographic website.
Best puns: Offenses in a quandary, Ya Diggs?, Tae Quando
6. Laken Tomlinson vs. 3. Jace Billingsley
Tomlinson enters the second round after taking Jake Rudock out, 76-24. Having defeated the local hero loved by all, Tomlinson now turns his focus to one of the toughest new competitors on the street, Jace Billingsley. A lot of what makes Tomlinson a good name is met and surpassed by Billingsley. A long, unique last name? Billingsley did it. A strange but endearing first name? Jace over Laken. For such a close matchup, this should be a blowout. And Jace Billingsley has the knockout punch right here:
@PrideOfDetroit Jace Billingsley's middle name is Gable and he is from Winnemucca, NV. Some interesting names there.— Jim Billingsley (@billingsey32) May 29, 2016
That's right. That is, I believe, Jace Billingsley's dad getting hyped for the Name Bracket tournament. He adds a couple of pieces of evidence to help boost his son into the next round, and who can deny the greatness of a middle name like Gable? Not this guy. Jace could take this whole damn thing down with the momentum he has now.
7. Gabe Ikard vs. 2. Ameer Abdullah
Gabe Ikard had one of the closest matchups of the first round, narrowly slipping by Joe Dahl, 52-48. I feel I have to remind the contingent that his last name is not pronounced ick-ard, so no Jean-Luc Ikard puns can legally be made. I will have you arrested. Instead, it is pronounced EYE-curd, which sounds disgusting. It reminds me of the Beatles lyric from "I Am The Walrus":
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
That lyric haunted me as a child and continues to haunt me. Ikard must be stopped.
We are all very familiar with the name Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah destroyed Darrin Walls 89-11 in the first round, the third best performance in his region. Ameer's last name has the word "doula" right there. A doula is someone who provides assistance to mothers giving birth. How can you say no to Ameer Abdullah now? You can't. I've guilted you into it. Now do my bidding.
1. Golden Tate vs. 9. Glover Quin
Two fan favorites. Two first names with a word in it. Two last names that are oh so brief, yet, oh so powerful. Only one ticket to the Sweet 16.
I am just going to take a step back on this one and watch the two battle it out. Here are each name's finishing moves:
the top definition of "tate" on Urban Dictionary is, AND I QUOTE:
the most balllin mutherfucker ever
RT @kmeinke There's an @MLiveCommenter talking about some guy named "Grover Quinn." I need to go home. pic.twitter.com/yGOoJQ8eSR— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) March 9, 2016
5. DeAndre Levy vs. 4. Zaviar Gooden
This is another matchup bound to break some hearts. I love DeAndre Levy enough to not only buy the jersey, but to seriously contemplate returning it when my jersey curse spawned a flesh eating bacteria upon his hips. But the beloved linebacker is simply overmatched against Zaviar Gooden.
There are so many things I want to say about the name Zaviar. It's a letter away from being "caviar." I was so convinced the name was that of a villain, I looked it up. Instead, I found someone with the even more brilliant name Francois-Xavier Villain. HIS LAST NAME IS VILLAIN. Anway, Zaviar turns a nerdy-sounding name, Xavier, into something bold, menacing and downright badass. Sorry, Levy.
6. Adarius Barnes vs. 3. Crezdon Butler
Before we get into this matchup, let us say goodbye to Stephen Tulloch, who was disposed of by Adarius Barnes in the first round of the tournament, 75-25. This was Tulloch's final Name Bracket tournament, but, unfortunately, he never managed to pull himself past the first round. He was a good football player and a great person, but his first name was just too sweet and ordinary to survive the hellscape that is the Name Bracket. Good luck, Tully.
The reason I give Tulloch a proper sendoff is because this is the most boring matchup of the second round. Adarius Barnes is a name that looks better than it actually is. Neither name is particularly special or rare. And they don't really work together to create anything meaningful.
Crezdon Butler is the best. Crezdon. CREZDON.
10. Caraun Reid vs. 2. Johnson Bademosi
Caraun Reid was one of our biggest upsets of the first round, taking down the unpopular Eric Ebron in his opening match, 56-44. While I disagree with the decision made by the Pride Of Detroit pollsters (something that is becoming a common occurrence), the name Caraun Reid is growing on me. Caraun is sharin'. Reid is also pretty neat because I like misspelled nouns. But the opportunity for puns isn't really there. Reid-iculous is a stretch, as is "Reid my lips, no new first downs." I like Caraun Reid, but remain underwhelmed by him. Eric Ebron should be here.
But all of that doesn't matter; Johnson Bademosi would destroy them both. I still can't get over using Johnson as a first name. It's like his parent wanted to honor Calvin Johnson, but didn't like the name Calvin. And follow that up with a last name like Bademosi? This two-seed is coming for every soul of this tournament and will devour it. RIP, Caraun Reid.