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2021 Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament: Round 1, Part 4

Rounding out the first round of this prestigious tournament.

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The first round of the NCAA basketball tournament is always the best. There’s non-stop action on that Thursday and Friday, and there are upsets galore.

That’s not exactly how it works in the Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament. Upsets happen, but rarely with the excitement of a buzzer beater. They usually come with minor triumphs or blatant voter fraud. That isn’t to say the first round isn’t worth tuning in for. It sets the tone for the rest of the tournament. It’s voters’ first chance to declare their backing for their favorite names in the tournament.

Now that I’ve dilly-dallied for a hundred words or so like this is an online recipe for breakfast lasagna, I’m officially allowed to get things started. Here are the final eight matchups of the first round. Welcome to the “Big Play” region.

1. Halapoulivaati Vaitai vs. 16. Joel Heath

Vaitai returns as last year’s runner up. He was unjustly defeated by Dee Virgin, who scored the title for the first time ever. Vaitai returns this year after a tough season on the field, which will inevitably hurt his chances in this tournament, because you’re all a bunch of biased jerks. His name is beautiful and can be sung to the tune of “Play that Funky Music” That should be enough to carry him to the Final Four.

Heath bars are terrible. Toffee is terrible. LET’S MAKE CARAMEL, BUT TAKE AWAY ITS AWESOME SMOOTH TEXTURE AND REPLACE IT WITH SHIT THAT GETS STUCK IN YOUR TEETH. Snickers is the only candy bar that needs to exist. Shoot Heath bars into the sun.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Halapoulivaati Vaitai
    (551 votes)
  • 69%
    Joel Heath
    (1283 votes)
1834 votes total Vote Now

8. Dan Skipper vs. 9. D’Andre Swift

Last year, I was accused of underseeding Dan Skipper (he was a seven seed), and as he got further and further in the tournament I continued to complain and berate y’all. You, dear voter, punished me by voting him all the way into the Final Four out of spite.

Today, I get my revenge. I dropped Skipper a seed lower this year and put him up against your beloved D’Andre Swift. What are you going to do about it? Would you dare to sacrifice Swift in the name of winning this war of attrition? I DARE YOU.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Dan Skipper
    (192 votes)
  • 68%
    D’Andre Swift
    (420 votes)
612 votes total Vote Now

5. Tavante Beckett vs. 12. Logan Stenberg

Tavante Beckett sounds like a name suited for tennis or golf. He scores points for being the first result in Google for “Tavante” despite being an undrafted rookie. Beckett, on the other hand, has widespread use. From judging the value of sports cards to the latest Netflix thriller.

Logan is one of those weird names that George Carlin probably would’ve made fun of, but after Wolverine became famous again, it suddenly became more tough. I got nothing on Stenberg. It’s not a last name I’ve ever heard, but there are thousands like it.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Tavante Beckett
    (361 votes)
  • 40%
    Logan Stenberg
    (244 votes)
605 votes total Vote Now

4. Amani Oruwariye vs. 13. Darrin Paulo

Now in Year 3 of his NFL career, Lions fans can finally get through Amani Oruwariye’s name without hesitation—well, most of them. Only cowards call him Amani O or A.O.

The name still holds up, though. Amani is a crowd pleaser. For the nerds, it refers to something in the Star Wars universe that I refuse to look deeper into. It means “peace” in Swahili or “aspiration” in Arabic.

Darrin Paulo snuck in the tournament as one of the most recent signings, joining the team in late May. For a 13 seed, he’s got a chance to make it to the next round. I love unconventional spellings, so going I instead of E in Darrin deserves some praise—even if Detroiters are familiar with this from the brief Lions career of Darrin Walls. Paulo accentuates vowels, which I’m always a big fan of, so we could see a potential upset here.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Amani Oruwariye
    (568 votes)
  • 6%
    Darrin Paulo
    (40 votes)
608 votes total Vote Now

6. Alim McNeill vs. 11. Damion Ratley

Now this is a true toss-up. Two Lions newcomers, so both names feel fresh. While Alim McNeill is overshadowed by some other fantastic name from Detroit’s draft class, it brings subtle allure. I absolutely love the first name accentuating the I as an “ee” sound. Then you look at his last name: McNeil ... wait for it ... BAM another L. Why? Why the hell not?

Then there’s Damion Ratley. While the first name isn’t anything special—unless you associate it with the son of the devil—Ratley has grit. If Dan Campbell could change names—and I wish he would, such a boring name for an anything-but-boring man—he should change it to Dan Ratley. And then he should start the 80s metal hair band I’m sure he’s been dying to create for decades.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Alim McNeill
    (354 votes)
  • 52%
    Damion Ratley
    (397 votes)
751 votes total Vote Now

3. Quintez Cephus vs. 14. Breshad Perriman

If competitive speed typing exists, the name Quintez Cephus is a nightmare for its competitors. It quite literally uses three of the four corners of a keyboard, and it’s a Scrabble game-ender. Phonetically, it’s surprisingly easy to say, which is either a positive for those that go through life looking for the path of least resistance, or a negative for those who want a challenge and aren’t afraid of making mistakes.

Breshad Perriman isn’t a special name, but because Brett Perriman has a special place in my heart as one of the most underrated players from my childhood, I gave him a free pass into the tournament. I’m sorry, but we live in a culture of nepotism.

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Quintez Cephus
    (540 votes)
  • 10%
    Breshad Perriman
    (60 votes)
600 votes total Vote Now

7. Alijah Holder vs. 10. David Blough

Alijah Holder missed his calling as a backup quarterback—AKA the person who holds field goals and extra points. If I were an NFL coach, I would make him do it anyways. In fact, if I was Alijah, I would insist on it. Make a name for yourself on special teams, literally.

The appeal of David Blough was gone the minute we learned it wasn’t pronounced “blow.” That being said, I still encourage you to use the name as a verb. “You Blough it” could literally mean the same thing, unless his wife kills it in Tokyo next month. Good luck, Melissa, by the way!

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Alijah Holder
    (411 votes)
  • 30%
    David Blough
    (180 votes)
591 votes total Vote Now

2. Alex Anzalone vs. 15. T.J. Hockenson

If you’re concerned about saying Alex Anzalone’s name with a super offensive Italian accent, don’t worry, he’s already given you the green light:

Throw in the alliterative/assonative nature of the name, and nothing else needs to be said. S-tier name.

Hockenson may get the better of Anzalone on the field during training camp, but he’s got nothing to stand on here in the Name Bracket Tournament. T.J. is a name as old as time. Hockenson admittedly is unique, but doesn’t bring much in terms of punnability. I suppose if he were more of an in-line tight end, we could call him Blockenson. Or if he was a Star Trek fan, he’d be Spockenson. Or if he loved classical music, we’d call him Bachenson. Okay, now I’m starting to change my mind...

Poll

Who has the better name?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Alex Anzalone
    (365 votes)
  • 38%
    T.J. Hockenson
    (232 votes)
597 votes total Vote Now