Despite rumors of its demise, the Detroit Lions Name Bracket has returned to cure your offseason blues. Basketball is over. Hockey is over. Baseball isn’t a thing. Wimbledon ends at like 10 a.m. ET every day. You’ve got nothing else going on, so it’s time to argue over petty things—the purest of internet activities.
For first timers, the Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament is a weeks-long event in which you, dear reader, get to vote on the best name on the Lions' current roster. The creation of the DLNBT was inspired all the way in 2015 when Lions player LaAdrian Waddle made a national name bracket. At the time, I took umbrage with Waddle’s inclusion, because I believed Waddle didn’t even have the best name on the team. I was proven correct when Ezekiel Ansah won our inaugural DLNBT in an upset victory over the likes of Golden Tate and Braxton Cave.
Since that tournament, the Name Bracket has taken on a life of its own. It elevated the name Jace Billingsley to a level which got recognition from his hometown, and now the tournament has become as known more for its corruption than its actual goal of finding the best name on the team.
Here is a list of previous year’s winners:
2021: Damion Ratley
2020: Dee Virgin
2019: Amani Oruwariye
2018: Quandre Diggs
2017: Storm Norton
2016: Jace Billingsley
2015: Ezekiel Ansah
Every year, it seems, the Name Bracket is filled with controversy and rage. Unfortunately, this year will be no different, because there’s already a moral dilemma we need to address before we even get to the first round.
Last year’s No. 1 seed John Penisini announced on social media that he has retired from football. Detroit Lions coaches have acknowledged and confirmed the retirement.
But as of the start of this tournament—June 27, 2022—Penisini’s retirement has not been filed with the NFL, and he technically remains on the roster (as confirmed by the team’s website).
So I have made the unprecedented decision to include Penisini in this year’s tournament... as part of the first-ever PLAY-IN NAME BRACKET GAME. And who better to go up against Penisini than the newest Lion to join the roster, Devin Funchess.
Penisini is such a force in these tournaments, but your vote below should not only represent your opinion on who has the better name, but the ethics of allowing John Penisini to participate in this year’s tournament. Penisini’s fate is firmly in your hands.
Who has the better name/should be in the tournament?
This poll is closed
And here’s a look at the rest of the tournament field, which was decided entirely by me. Complaints can and should be DM’d to @erikschlitt on Twitter.