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2017 Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament: The Field

Also known as “The 2018 Jace Billingsley Name Bracket tournament; Sponsored by Winnemucca.”

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s baaaaaaaaaaaack.

That’s right, everybody, the Detroit LIons Name Bracket is back again. It’s no March Madness, but it’s solid Junesanity.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Name Bracket tournament, we are entering the third year of its inception. We aim to declare the best name on the Detroit Lions roster, as a way to pass the time during the offseason and argue with each other about unimportant things, because that’s what sports are all about. We determine a winner using a familiar 64-team bracket with you, the readers, voting on each name matchup.

In our first year, Ezekiel Ansah was declared the winner in a rather boring, uneventful tournament. His win over Golden Tate was a close battle, but not all that exciting. Though I enjoyed writing for the entire tournament, I debated ending it after just one year.

That would have been a magnanimous mistake, because the 2016 Name Bracket Tournament was the finest month of the offseason this site has ever seen. The tournament put a little city of 7,000 people called Winnemucca, Nevada on the map (for Detroiters, at least).

Winnemucca invaded the tournament and stuffed the ballot for one of their own: Jace Billingsley. On the strength of his own name, Billingsley easily slid into the Sweet 16, but then something happened. Suddenly his polls were getting 50 percent more votes than all of the rest. Then he was getting well over 1,000 votes per matchup, when we had never received over 650 votes in a round before.

Eventually, it became clear that I no longer had control over the tournament and Winnemucca stuffed the ballots all the way to the finals. The Miles Killebrew crowd tried to gather a last-minute resistance, but the Winnemucca crowd was too strong. Billingsley won the tournament by earning a whopping 13,334 votes. I even tried to make a last-ditch effort to regain control of the tournament by sacrificing the Billingsley name to King Jim Bob Cooter, but Winnemucca proved too powerful.

The event was so much fun and widespread, that several Lions players actually found out about it:

So now we return. Winnemucca and Billingsley must reclaim their crown, because I am back in control of this tournament, and you all will have to prove worthy to take it from my hands again.

In order to get the field down to the necessary 64 players, I had to cut down 26 names on the current 90-man roster. I am the sole member of the Selection Committee, so if you have any issues with my selections, please email

My sincerest apologies to the following 26 names that did not qualify for this year’s tournament:

Brandon Barnes
Alex Barrett
Don Carey
Alex Carter
Brandon Copeland
Darren Fells
Jordan Hill
Tony HIlls
Mike James
Marvin Jones Jr.
TJ Jones
T.J. Lang
Desmond Lawrence
Keshawn Martin
Sam Martin
Pat O’Connor
Michael Roberts
Corey Robinson
Greg Robinson
Matthew Stafford
Brandon Thomas
Noel Thomas
Josh Thornton
Rick Wagner
Charles Washington
Dwayne Washington

There aren’t many surprises there. For the first time, Matthew Stafford did not make the cut this year. While his name is fine, I mostly kept him out because I didn’t want there to be any chance for him to win the tournament and add it to his resume. The last thing the Lions need is another notch in his belt to increase his value in the middle of a contract negotiations. No one would blame the Lions if they gave Stafford the biggest contract in the NFL if he were named the 2017 Name Bracket Champion.

Anyways, I went ahead and seeded the rest of the 64 names. Those decisions were mine and mine alone. As for the region they were placed in, that was done completely randomly. Again, if you have a problem with my methods, please try my other email at

Here’s the bracket (and it’s available for download and printing here, if you’re a weirdo that wants to print out a bracket and fill it out):

The voting will begin later this week. Get your ballot stuffing fingers ready, and remember, cheating is very much encouraged.

Let the arguing commence!

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