I’ll admit it. I sleep-walked through the first two rounds of the Detroit Lions Name Bracket tournament. Outside of an early Jace Billingsley scare, there wasn’t much drama, and we’re pretty much where we should be with the Sweet 16.
That being said, feelings are about to get hurt. I honestly think this is the best field we’ve sported in the three-year history of this event, and I can’t wait for the final four rounds of this thing. But before we get into the matchups, here’s a look at the updated field:
I’m sorry to say there will be no Cinderella story this year. The lowest remaining contestant is six-seeded Haloti Ngata. While I want to be disappointed in you, the voter, instead I’ll just take credit for super accurate seeding. I’m getting pretty good at this, y’all.
1 Jace Billingsley vs. 4 Leo Koloamatangi
After an early scare, Billingsley is back on track and could coast to the finals. Once again, it appears his hometown of Winnemucca came out to the polls last round. Not only did Billingsley blow out Armonty Bryant, but his matchup received around 70 percent more votes than the rest of the second-round battles. It looks like there will need to be a second effort from the #Resistance to stop him.
I love Hawaiian names. They’re fun to say. They’re challenging to pronounce, but in a good way. It feels like you’re discovering new letter combinations every time you read one. It’s like the common falsehood that we only use 10 percent of our brain; we only use 10 percent of our alphabet potential. Leo Koloamatangi frees us from those shackles with just a beautiful name.
...but his brother’s name is Meffy Koloamatangi and I wish he was in this tournament instead.
3 Thurston Armbrister vs. 2 Teez Tabor
Is there a name more summer appropriate than Thurston Armbrister? It’s just a chill sounding name. I’m Thurston for some lemonade, let me drink some while I lay back in my Armbrister. Actually, no. That doesn’t quite work. Because an Armbrister still sounds like a torture device. Back in the days when people were drawn and quartered for punishment, I’m sure people who committed lesser crimes—like allowing a Bingo game to go on for longer than five hours (a real law that is still on the books in North Carolina)—were sent to the Armbrister.
Teez Tabor may be able to withstand the Armbrister. Obviously the first name is the headliner here, but don’t underestimate the punnery of his last name. Turn Tabor into “Taborius” a la Duran Duran (or Notorious B.I.G. for you darn Millennials). Three syllables yet so many possibilities. This may be the Main Event of the Sweet 16.
1 Golden Tate vs. 5 Quandre Diggs
This matchup bores me. Golden Tate and Quandre Diggs are fine names, but they’ve been around for a lifetime in this tournament. Little know fact: names in this tournament have a shorter life expectancy than Meeseeks. If names hang around too long, things start getting weird.
I don’t know what else I can say about either of these names. The Name Bracket needs to stay fresh, so I hope whoever wins this matchup gets trounced in the next round.
3 Jeremiah Ledbetter vs. 2 Darius Slay
Here we go, some fresh meat. Jeremiah Ledbetter is the kind of innovative name that this tournament needs after that boring matchup. There hasn’t been a name quite like Jeremiah Ledbetter in the history of the Name Bracket (okay, there’s another Jeremiah still in this tournament, but that doesn’t count). How could that last name get any Ledbetter?
Now that I’ve gotten over how it sounds like bed-wetter (j/k, I haven’t), let’s analyze it further. It almost sounds like an early computer prototype. “My dad just got the Ledbetter 5000! It only weighs 300 pounds and I can play “Jordan vs. Bird” on it!
Sidebar: Jeremiah Ledbetter won his Round 2 matchup over Ego Ferguson by three votes, making it the closest matchup in Name Bracket history (according to my memory, I refuse to actually look it up).
Darius Slay is an amazing name for a cornerback. It’s an even better name for the man himself. Never has a name more perfectly lined up with a player’s #Brand. Slay is intimidating on and off the field, so Slay on, Slayer.
1 Miles Killebrew vs. 5 Jared Abbrederis
I can almost feel the groundswell of support behind Miles Killebrew, and I think he may actually dethrone King Billingsley. We all already know why it’s such a great name, but let me tell you about my own experience with the name.
For whatever reason, every time I look at it, I’m convinced Miles is the name of a Sonic the Hedgehog character. I can’t explain why, but it’s the first thing to come to mind. I’ve googled it so many times before just to check, but no luck.
UPDATE: Okay, I googled it for the fifteenth time and somehow missed it the first 14 times. Miles is Tails’ “real” name. Phew. I told you this tournament was therapeutic. Sorry about that.
I hate myself for what I did last week. I drew a comparison between Abbrederis and Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus,” and I literally have had that song stuck in my head since. Now I want nothing more than to never read Abbrederis’ name again.
3 Cyrus Kouandjio vs. 2 Storm Norton
A battle between two newcomers, and two titans, in my opinion. Cyrus Kouandjio has my favorite last name in the tournament. No name is more fun to say, not even Koloamatangi. Kouandjio is just a masterful example of phonetics and spelling working in harmony to create something beautiful.
Storm Norton reminds me of a young Golden Tate. The name is just so unexpected and perfect for this tournament. Like Golden, Storm hits you with the most unlikely of first names, but follows it up with something not uncommon, but something that effortlessly blends the ordinary with unconventional. Norton is the only possible last name for someone named Storm, unless your goal is to create word salad. Norton anchors Storm in reality, while also celebrating its uniqueness.
I can’t decide. You must.
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 4 Jeremiah Valoaga
This is another 1 vs. 4 matchup that I’m just not feeling. Ezekiel Ansah makes me feel nothing. He has always been the most overrated name in this tournament. I say this every year, even though he won the 2015 Name Bracket tournament. At this point, even the staunchest Ansah supports have to admit that the novelty has worn off.
But Jeremiah Valoaga has been upstaged by Jeremiah Ledbetter all tournament. Valoaga has good use of vowels and the last part of his name makes me want to scream the opening to “Down with the Sickness.” You know what? Let’s pause for a minute and enjoy a karaoke master take it away:
This is my favorite 10-second video in the world. You cannot find a better one. I challenge you.
6 Haloti Ngata vs. 2 Zach Zenner
Throw Haloti Ngata in with the Golden Tates, the Ezekiel Ansahs and the Quandre Diggses. Been there, done that. Ngata is the lowest seed remaining in this tournament and this round should take care of that.
Zach Zenner is coming off his triumphant victory in the Alliteration Off over Graham Glasgow. It wasn’t even close. Zach Zenner zoomed and zigzagged, leaving his zeal-less opponent zombified.
Yeah, so vote Zenner.