Detroit Lions Dan Skipper Jersey

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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.

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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.

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Poll
Who has the better name?
Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Joel Heath
VOTE view results
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?
Dan Skipper
D’Andre Swift
VOTE view results
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?
Tavante Beckett
Logan Stenberg
VOTE view results
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.

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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?
Amani Oruwariye
Darrin Paulo
VOTE view results
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?
Alim McNeill
Damion Ratley
VOTE view results
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.

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