Let the arguing commence! The 2018 Detroit Lions Name Bracket tournament is officially underway as voting for the Jim Bob Cooter region is now open.
Here is my take on each of the first round matchups. Happy/Angry Voting!
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 16 Trevor Bates
If things don’t go well this year, this could be Ezekiel Ansah’s last opportunity to become the first two-time Name Bracket champion. Winner of the inaugural 2015 Detroit Lions Name Bracket, Ansah brings the pain with an impressive display of vowels. There are a select few of us that could pull of each name starting with a vowel, but Ansah does it flawlessly, and without having to rely on cheap tricks like alliteration.
His name also has infinite pun potential, which is cause for high marks in this tournament. In past years, I have insisted that nicknames shouldn’t have any place in this tournament, but that hasn’t stopped people from justifying Ansah’s place in this tournament using “Ziggy.” I don’t like it, but as much as I try, I cannot control you. SB Nation is still working on that technology.
Trevor Bates isn’t much of a name, but it reminds me of Bates Hamburgers, and just the thought of those greasy sliders has my stomach in knots. It also reminds me of the Bates Hotel, and now I’m wondering if they serve Bates Hamburgers at the Bates Motel. Wait, are Bates Hamburgers made out of old, dead mothers? I’m not accusing them of anything, but it does explains the stomach pains.
8 Deontez Alexander vs. 9 Don Muhlbach
Deontez Alexander is a Scrabble dream, but don’t be distracted by the high-scoring letters, this is still a pretty solid name for an eight seed. The E-O combination is an underutilized combination in the English language, and it’s a shame. It creates a beautiful sound. Leon is also an amazing name. Geodes sound so much cooler than they actually are. And remember mimeographs? They may be lame and outdated, but they’re easily the best-named machine in the history of mankind.
I’m in full Name Fatigue mode with Don Muhlbach. While I appreciate the uniqueness of the U-H-L combination, and it’s cool that his name sounds like a knock-off donkey, but there aren’t a lot of layers to this onion. Don is just about as boring of a first name as you can get, and I don’t think his surname makes up for it.
5 DeShawn Shead vs. 12 Kerry Hyder Jr.
On any other team, DeShawn Shead may be a top-three seed, but unfortunately he’s stuck on a team with an A’Shawn and a Da’Shawn. That really hurt all three players, as Shead is the highest seeded of a the “X-Shawns.”
Actually, that would be a pretty badass name if the trio ever formed a wrestling group: The X-Shawns. I mean, A’Shawn Robinson is pretty much Mark Henry already. Wait, what’s happening. This is too much wrestling talk.
Kerry “Hyder kids Hyder wife” is a pretty solid 12 seed, and I’m actually a big fan of the NFL trend adding Jr. or Sr. to the name and the back of the jersey. Plus Hyder seems like a really nice dude. Unfortunately, benevolence has no part in this tournament, so there’s no reason for Hyder to make it out of the first round.
4 Josh Fatu vs. 13 John Montelus
I have a warm place in my heart for names that get straight to the point. No dilly-dallying. No complicated syllables with unclear emphasis. Let’s just get in and out of here, we all have a game of Fortnite to win, stop making me say your name for 3 seconds. That’s what makes an ordinary name like Rod Wood so good—you know, besides all the phallic stuff.
Fatu’s opponent has literally the most boring name in the game, which caps off his seeding no higher than a 10 seed. Montelus is a pretty good last name, mostly because it reminds me of one of the all-time great names in celebrity history: Ricardo Montalban, the best villain in Naked Gun history—you know, besides O.J. Simpson.
6 Teo Redding vs. 11 Devon Kennard
If there’s one thing I want out of the 2018 Name Bracket Tournament, it’s for Teo Redding and Theo Riddick to face off against each other. It would be this bracket’s version of the Pointing Spiderman meme.
But I doubt it will ever come to be, because this is a pretty tough first-round matchup for Redding. Devon Kennard brings it strong, even if there already is an established Kennard in Detroit sports right now. There is a certain balance between de-VON KEN-nard. It’s like a roller coaster. UP then down. Plus, hard Ks are always funny.
3 Levine Toilolo vs. 14 Brandon Powell
We’ve come to my first major blunder of this tournament (and ever). Levine Toilolo should absolutely be a one or two seed. I love me some vowels, and if there’s a better display of vowel sounds than “Toilolo,” I haven’t seen it yet. O-I is another underutilized combination in the English language (coil, foil, embroil), and come on, LO-LO? Without a doubt, Toilolo is the best last name in the tournament. I will fight any of you on this.
Brandon Powell is the most boring name with the word POW in it. 14 is probably generous for his seeding, especially considering the three most famous Powells in history have much better first names: Colin, Cozy and Boog. More like BLANDon.
7 Da’Shawn Hand vs. 10 Christian Ringo
I’m calling it. This is our first upset alert of the tournament. With Da’Shawn Hand hindered by the X-Shawn crew (and unfortunately the second in his own region), this is the best opportunity for Christian Ringo to make it into the round of 32.
Christian Ringo is easily the best 10 seed in this tournament, despite sharing a name with the worst Beatle. If you don’t agree with me: 1) you’re wrong. 2) Listen to Honey Don’t and just try to sit through the whole thing.
Anyways, Christian Ringo sounds like Christian Mingle, and you can go ahead and bury me the minute I don’t find that funny.
2 Theo Riddick vs. 15 Tracy Walker
The Chronicles of Riddick have been well established in this tournament. I love the name Theo. I love all the fun that “Riddick” brings, too. Also underrated and under-discussed is the fact that his name has “dick” in it, and I am not above a having a giggle because of that. I never claimed to be a mature person.
Neither Tracy nor Walker is a particularly clever name, but for some reason, his name really clicks together. It’s not going to win any awards or get him anywhere in this tournament, but it got him into the dance, and I think it’s important to take a minute to appreciate the perfectly normal names out there. Don’t let this tournament feel like an act of aggression against the Paul Smiths and Jennifer Browns of the world. Your names are perfectly fine. You go out there and have yourselves a beautiful day.