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2020 Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament: Round 1, Part 1

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Voting opens with the Darius Slay region.

I hope you all had a peaceful and safe weekend, because all hell is about to break loose. It’s officially Detroit Lions Name Bracket season, and every year it threatens the fabric that holds this very website together. However, we must endure this every year, because adversity tests our will and makes our bond stronger. Without adversity, we’d be Green Bay Packers fans, and, personally, I have no interest in being a spoiled brat that proudly touts a worthless piece of paper.

So we must advance into the foreboding mist ahead. Each year, the Lions Name Bracket seems to provide a new challenge for us, whether it be a united force from the hills of a small Nevada town or one rogue brother among us with basic computer skills and way too much time on their hands.

I can’t promise you the next couple weeks will run smoothly. There will be fights. There will be resentment (mostly from me). But, damnit, this is the Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament, and like five people would be disappointed if we didn’t do it.

Here is your Darius Slay Region.

1. Amani Oruwariye vs. 16. Bobby Price

Last year, Amani Oruwariye took this damn tournament over as just a three seed. Now, he is crowned with a one seed, but that comes with a target on his back. As we learned last year Amani is Swahili for “peace” and, also, no one can pronounce Oruwariye without sounding like they’re trying to get a popcorn kernel out of their teeth.

Y’all, just take your time with the name, there’s no hurry. Oh-roo-war-ee-aye. His name is an inspiration to take life at a slower pace. Appreciate the moment. Life is fleeting, no need to rush to the finish line.

If you asked me right now, I couldn’t tell you what position Bobby Price plays for the Lions. If you google his name, you get some vegetable-obsessed nutritionist. But there’s something I love about this name. It’s so manufactured. It’s the first name a novice screenwriter would give for some CEO of a conglomerate kids toy company. It also reminds me of “Bobby’s World,” and that’s all the excuse I need to post a video of its awesome theme song.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Amani Oruwariye
    (498 votes)
  • 6%
    Bobby Price
    (35 votes)
533 votes total Vote Now

8. Don Muhlbach vs. 9. Jeff Okudah

I often talk about “name fatigue” in this tournament, which is a term I made up describing how names of Lions players lose their luster after being around for several tournaments. If there’s one player immune to name fatigue, it’s Don Muhlbach. It’s not that his name remains unique and fresh. It’s that the player remains wildly popular for playing a position that rarely draws any scrutiny from any NFL fans.

Now, I’m not trying to take anything away from Don Muhlbach. Holding any job for 16 years is a huge accomplishment worth praising. But it is a little telling that one of the most popular Lions players in franchise history is mostly known for simply not messing up.

Anyways, for a player so widely respected, he could only be named Don.

Old meets new here, and first-round rookie Jeff Okudah tries to “Godfather Part II” The Don. I haven’t seen “The Godfather Part II,” so I’m just going to guess using it as a verb here makes sense. Listen, I respect the hell out of The Godfather series, but I don’t have the same weird affinity for mobster movies that most Americans seem to, and I would never waste over three hours watching a power struggle that ends in an massacre.

Anyways, Okudah is a pretty solid last name.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Don Muhlbach
    (236 votes)
  • 56%
    Jeff Okudah
    (305 votes)
541 votes total Vote Now

5. Jesse James vs. 12. Luke Sellers

Jesse James is definitely on 5-vs-12 upset alert, despite having a lot of things going for him. Obviously, sharing the name of an American outlaw gives him a boost, but don’t sleep on the alliteration. Unfortunately, James will have to deal with the backlash of a massively disappointing 2019 season on the field—something that absolutely should not affect this tournament, but inevitably will, because you are all a bunch of judgemental jerks (says the guy who spends a whole month making fun of player names).

I wrote up this bit about Luke Sellers last of any name in this region, because the name confounds me. There’s nothing that jumps out as interesting or funny, yet I’m drawn to it for some reason. It’s the painting that doesn’t look all that interesting, yet you can’t stop staring at it. Yes, I am that weird guy in the museum that spend 10 minutes in front of one painting.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Jesse James
    (412 votes)
  • 23%
    Luke Sellers
    (126 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now

4. Bo Scarbrough vs. 13. Duron Harmon

Bo Scarbrough could be an underdog to win this region. It’s his first Name Bracket, so his name is still fresh, and he remains a very popular player, having been one of the few success stories from the 2019 team.

And there’s a lot to like about his name, too. Bo is a name that seems to only be relegated to football legends: Schembechler and Jackson. There’s also underrated comedian Bo Burnham, whose “Make Happy” special remains one of the most moving comedy specials I’ve seen. But he changed his name from Robert to Bo, showcasing just how desirable of a name it is.

Duron Harmon makes me think of “Community” creator Dan Harmon, and that’s probably the only reason I gave him a 13 seed. That said, I do like the symmetry of his name with the -r and -on sounds at the end of each syllable. It’s the little things in life, y’all.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Bo Scarbrough
    (467 votes)
  • 13%
    Duron Harmon
    (70 votes)
537 votes total Vote Now

6. Joe Dahl vs. 11. Da’Shawn Hand

In a busy world with lots of heavy burdens and menials tasks, you have to appreciate names that let you get in, get out, and go on with your life. Joe Dahl is such a modest name it’s almost telling you, “You know what, call me whatever you’d like. My name’s not really all that important when you consider the planet is dying, everyone hates each other, and there isn’t—and never has been—any hope for humanity. Call me Joe. Call me Joseph. Call me JD. It doesn’t matter, because soon all of our organs will fuse with the Earth’s crust.”

With A’Shawn Robinson now in Los Angeles, Da’Shawn Hand has cornered the team market on apostrophe-Shawns. If it weren’t for D’Andre Swift, he’d have the entire apostrophe market at his hands.

For now, though, he’ll have to settle for being the only player with a body part for a name (SHUT UP, WE’LL GET TO JOHN PENISINI).

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Joe Dahl
    (82 votes)
  • 84%
    Da’Shawn Hand
    (455 votes)
537 votes total Vote Now

3. Desmond Trufant vs. 14. Taylor Decker

How many people do you know named Desmond? If your answer is anything other than zero or one, congratulations on being another liar on the internet. It’s rare for such a familiar name to feel so unfamiliar. Combine that with a solid, unique last name in Trufant, and you’ve got a solid name without having to be flashy. Desmond Trufant is a name that is unassuming, yet yields a pretty damn good product. It’s the grilled cheese of names.

I like the idea of an offensive lineman with the name Decker. It feels right. I’m slightly disappointed, however, that we haven’t yet seen a commentator show a replay of Decker in a combo-block and called it a “Double Decker.” A man can dream.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Desmond Trufant
    (430 votes)
  • 20%
    Taylor Decker
    (109 votes)
539 votes total Vote Now

7. Romeo Okwara vs. 10. T.J. Hockenson

It’ll be very interesting to see how the addition of Julian Okwara will influence the performance of his brother in the Name Bracket. I’ll admit, I almost decided to put the two brothers up against each other in the first round, but I would never, ever manipulate this bracket for my own morbid curiosity. Never ever. Ever ever. Sadly, the only way we see a Romeo vs. Julian matchup is if the two reach the Final Four, and I don’t see that happening.

T.J. Hockenson is unique, yet somewhat boring. This is a team with a rich history of T.J.s, whether it be of the Lang or Jones variety, but the tight end could be the best of them all.

I don’t know what the last name Hockenson means, but I like to think of it as the son of the one who hocks. My goal for 2020 is to get T.J. Hockenson to utter the words “I AM THE ONE WHO HOCKS’ son

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Romeo Okwara
    (333 votes)
  • 37%
    T.J. Hockenson
    (202 votes)
535 votes total Vote Now

2. Halapoulivaati Vaitai vs. 15. Wes Hills

After all the hand wringing from the local beat lamenting, “How are we possibly going to learn how to spell/say his name,” it turns out both are relatively easy with about 30 minutes of practice. Halapoulivaati may look long and daunting, but it’s actually pronounced just as it looks. The spelling takes some work, but I’ve already got it down, and I haven’t even seen the man face-to-face yet.

Admittedly, I have a love affair with Hawaiian names. They sound beautiful to me, and I appreciate the use of vowels. Plus, there is a sense of accomplishment when finally learning how to say the name right. Does anyone feel good about themselves saying the name Steve Richards? Of course not. Halapoulivaati makes you work for it, and you’re a better person upon putting in the extra effort.

Wes Hills sounds like a gated community that will fine you if your grass in 14 of an inch too long. Gated communities suck, and if you give a crap about how long your neighbor’s grass is or if their mailbox fits the community theme, you need a little more adversity in your life.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Halapoulivaati Vaitai
    (495 votes)
  • 7%
    Wes Hills
    (43 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now