Before we move onto today’s region of the Name Bracket tournament, I must address what is happening in the Check the Report Region. Jace Billingsley, 2016 Name Bracket champion and pride of Winnemucca, is currently down by over 5,000 votes to 16-seed Matt Prater. Keep in mind that no other poll from that region has even 900 votes total.
There is clearly some tomfoolery going on here, and in this toxic political environment, this should come as no surprise. I am currently forming an independent commission to investigate these election results, but I refuse to recuse myself, despite my own clear bias towards Jace Billingsley. Any attempt to remove me from the panel will be treated as an obstruction of justice. You’ve been warned, Pride Of Detroit.
1 Golden Tate vs. 16 Cornelius Washington
In 2015, Golden Tate took the Name Bracket by storm. In his path to the finals, we learned several things about his name, but none more important than Urban Dictionary’s definiton of Tate as “the most ballin mutherfucker [sic] ever.”
Tate lost a hotly contested finals to Ezekiel Ansah in 2015, and he’s been on a downward spiral since. Tate did manage to make the Final Four last year, only to run into the Billingsley buzzsaw.
At this point, I’m just a little desensitized to the name Golden Tate. Giving him a one-seed felt like charity at this point when newcomers like Teez Tabor, Storm Norton and Jeremiah Ledbetter joined the field. But maybe last year’s Butt Flip was enough to keep people excited.
But I would put him on upset alert against Cornelius Washington, easily the best 16-seed in the tournament. Cornelius Washington,
21st president of the United States free agent pickup from the Chicago Bears, not only has a victorian-style name, but it is also perfectly balanced between first and last name. Though the first name has one more syllable than the last, it’s the second syllable that is emphasized. cor-NE-li-us WA-shing-ton. Play his name on loop, throw it into GarageBand, and you’ve got a sick percussion line.
8 Tion Green vs. 9 Anthony Zettel
According to names.org, only 405 babies born in the United States from 1880 to 2015 were named Tion. The name is so rare and strange, in fact, that names.org’s “weird fact” about Tion is that it is “noit” backwards. Do better, names.org.
To me, Tion is a name that I’ve tried to use roughly 20,000 times in Words With Friends, to no avail. Aurally, Tion is nothing special. It sounds like Deion, which is something, I guess, but overall, it’s just not as inspiring as I’d like such a rare name to be.
Anthony Zettel enters the tournament after getting bounced as a nine-seed last year. The same could happen again this year, but I’m throwing my full support behind Zettel. Last year I may have called him a “phony” but the name is starting to grow on me. I like how his name goes from A to Z and Zettel is a jaunty name. It rhymes with kettle. That means if you stick Tion with Zettel, it kind of sounds like Tea Kettle.
I don’t know, guys. I’m struggling here. These are two really uninspiring names, and I’m still shaken up by the Jace news. Just vote.
5 Quandre Diggs vs. 12 Paul Worrilow
As a English-speaker myself, I want to go on the record as saying that we don’t appreciate the “qu” combination enough. It’s a beautiful pairing. You can’t say anything that starts with “qu” without joyfully swinging your mouth open and even raising your head just a tad.
Quandre Diggs goes by the nickname “Nino” and it’s a shame because he’s got a fine name, as is. Q-Diggs would be much more appropriate in keeping the spirit of his name alive.
There are a few interesting things about the name Paul Worrilow, but none of them are necessarily positive. I like that Worrilow is nearly a palindrome. Wolirrow is essentially the same thing as Worrilow. But the name just sounds depressing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the full name of the donkey in “Winnie the Pooh” is Eeyore Worrilow. I don’t care that Eeyore set a good example for kids that not everyone is capable of ubiquitous happiness, he’s the worst. If you like Eeyore, change your last name to Worrilow and throw on a Staind CD for the rest of your life.
4 Ameer Abdullah vs. 13 Matt Rotheram
The Name Bracket has not been kind to Ameer Abdullah, despite having a perfectly fine name. In 2016, he was bounced in the Sweet 16 by none other than Jace Billingsley. In his rookie year, I foolishly started the tournament before the draft, so he was ineligible.
I love the alliteration in Abdullah’s name, but even more enjoyable is the emphasis on vowels, which we confirmed are much better than consonants in the previous region. Not only do both of his names start with a vowel, but the emphasized syllable in both names are vowel sounds, “eeeeer” and “ooooooooooh.”
Before I get into my scientific analysis of Matt Rotheram, I owe him an apology. I wishfully spelled his last name “Rotherham” in the original bracket. I very much wanted ham to be in his last name, because “everybody loves ham”*.
But alas, Matt Rotheram does not have any deli meats within his name, but what he does have is a very Downton Abbey-sounding last name. Introducing the Rotheram family: Father Reginald, Mother Beatrice, and son... Matt. You’ve got to bring it with both names to get out of the first round, Matt. I’m afraid you’re kicked out of Abbey Manor (I’ve never seen the show before, is that how this works?).
*if you get this reference, you are my new best friend.
6 Ego Ferguson vs. 11 A’Shawn Robinson
I can already tell this is going to be one of the most heated battles of the opening round. Ego Ferguson barely made it into the tournament, joining the team a mere 10 days before the field was announced.
Is there any bolder move as a parent than naming your son Ego? Why not just go the full nine yards and name him Arrogant? Or Vain? But the Name Bracket rewards boldness, and I am impressed.
But it’s the last name that worries me. Before the 2016 US Presidential election, there was a political campaign much worse than anyone could imagine. It was the most despicable, most hateful, most Ferg-breathed push to the candidacy that this country has ever seen:
Ferguson may be my least favorite character in TV show history. I knew someone exactly like him growing up and now I’m looking him up on Facebook to make sure I’m still a better person than him. Thanks, Ego.
I don’t like the name A’Shawn Robinson. I just don’t. I was staunchly against it when he reached the Sweet 16 last year, and I led the Zach Zenner brigade against him to prevent an Elite Eight appearance. I just don’t get the appeal of the A’ in front of Shawn Robinson. It seems like a desperate attempt to add a vowel to make the name more badass. I think A’Shawn Robinson is just trying to play to the pro-vowel constituents, but I can see right through you, Shawn. Nice try.
3 Jeremiah Ledbetter vs. 14 Jamal Agnew
As someone who is constantly asked whether my name is short for Jeremiah (it isn’t), you’d think I would hate the name, but the opposite is true. Jeremiah is a fantastic name. Maybe it’s because the only proper way to pronounce the name is to scream it Three Dog Night style.
But let’s address the elephant in the room: Ledbetter rhymes with bed-wetter. It’s unfortunate, because it also rhymes with shred cheddar and dead sweater. Side note: Dibs on The Dead Sweaters as a band name.
Jamal Agnew is a perfectly average name. Each name is commonplace, yet unique enough to stand on its own. Unfortunately, like a classroom without bunsen burners, there’s just no chemistry there.
7 Don Muhlbach vs. 10 DJ Hayden
This should be another heated matchup that pits the ever-eternal Don Muhlbach against the newcomer DJ Hayden.
Muhlbach’s name has lent itself to many nicknames in Detroit over his 34-year career. Most call him Muhldozer, but some offer the simpler, yet more respectful “The Don.” Also, as a reminder, I wasted my time making this for last year’s tournament:
I like to think DJ Hayden’s parents named him that in the hopes that he would become a famous disc jockey. How were they to know 27 years ago that everyone in the world would eventually become a DJ? Side note: Dibs on the stage name DJ Hayden Christensen.
2 Darius Slay vs. 15 Steve Longa
We’ve made countless puns with Darius Slay’s last name, but let me make a case for Darius as a strong first name. According to BehindTheName.com, Darius is the Greek form of the Persian name Dārayavahush. Why does that matter? Check out what it means:
“which was composed of the elements dâraya "to possess" and vahu "good".”
A cornerback with a name that means good possession? He’s getting at least seven interceptions this year.
Also, Darius can be very fun to say. Take it away, Ezekiel Ansah:
Hey Steve, Longa time, no see. You have a pretty Longa shot to make the team.
I’m sorry, that wasn’t very nice. I’ve just had some issues with Steve, ever since I heard he was spreading a preposterous hypothesis about my friend. Not cool, Steve.