If you were able to watch yesterday’s game or not, by now you’ve no doubt seen Nyheim Hines touchdown celebrations. Hines displayed impressive athleticism not only on the plays that got him into the end zone but during his tumbling celebrations after.
When I saw Hines’ celebration my eyes lit up, not only because it was a cool celebration, but because I have a lot of personal experience with the kind of acrobatics Hines displayed having coached gymnastics for nearly a decade (most of my 20’s). It’s been a few years since I’ve been in a gym and it would take a while to get my eyes up to speed to breakdown something like Hines celebrations in real time, especially through a TV screen. It’s difficult to watch a kid do a complex skill that takes a fraction of a second to complete and then provide accurate and detailed feedback or corrections, if you do it every day it gets easier and eventually you get good at it, as it stands I’m pretty rusty at seeing things live but fortunately I have it on tape and could watch it as much as I wanted.
So naturally I went to Twitter as I didn’t think that kind of breakdown would necessarily fit here on Stampede Blue. I tagged Nyheim Hines (for folks without Twitter, that means he was more likely to actually see/look at the post) because I thought if I was going to invest even a little bit of time into the thread, I was going to shoot my shot to see if I could get him to respond or even just “like” the post.
What I got was a scandal for the ages.
Here is the thread and exchange between Hines and myself:
Little known fact on Twitter; I coached gymnastics for around a decade. I learned from Olympic coaches and worked with kids who went on to compete at D1 schools— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
So here's a thread analyzing both of Nyheim Hines TD celebrations from an old gym coach#ForTheShoe#Colts @TheNyNy7
Terms to know: roundoff, full— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
The roundoff comes before the "flip" I saw someone call it a cartwheel and while it does start the same his feet both land at the same time, making it a roundoff.
A "full" is short for full twisting layout. A layout is a flip with straight legs
Celebration #1.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
Hines does a good job stretching his roundoff out, many people want to reach straight down which limits the momentum you can get from his right leg coming over the top 1st. He lands his roundoff perfectly, head and chest up, great position to explode... pic.twitter.com/PsAWf5btdU
vertically he does a curious thing with his arms after the roundoff, instead of setting (reaching) both arms up, he "cheats his set" by setting with only his right, while pulling his left arm to begin the twist early.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
Because of that cheat he doesn't get enough height to...
complete the full twisting layout with his hips open, meaning with his body completely straight from his head to his feet.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
I would expect no less from a NFL running back but the height he was able to generate while tumbling on a football field is impressive, all the same.
Celebration #2— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
If you notice that he lands this one less cleanly, he did that for to 2 reasons. 1. His roundoff wasn't as good. He didn't reach out as much as on his 1st try, he reached down and didn't generate as much force rebounding up as he lands with his chest down... pic.twitter.com/EXpeJc89sN
The second reason he doesn't land as cleanly is because if you notice as his legs come over the top in the full they're apart. That's wrong. I've seen it happen before, so why would someone do that?— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
At some point he realized he didn't have the same height,...
as before, so he was preparing for a crash landing. The issue is, opening his legs like this, slowed his momentum which only exacerbated the height issue after the roundoff. Which probably wouldn't have been an issue had he just tried to twist harder.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
Again he cheats...
his set so it wasn't just a one time thing. It's how he learned to do it— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
Most often you see that cheat from athletes who learn to tumble from competitive cheerleading. Cheer is (often) less concerned with having perfect form and the correct tumbling height...
So while I can't say with 100% certainty Nyheim Hines learned to tumble from Cheerleading instructors, if I were putting $ on it, I would bet at some point in his life Nyheim Hines wore polyester pants and counted to 8 over and over with to the beat of some terrible cheer music.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
So I posted all of that to be a little silly but also because I thought someone might actually enjoy it. I didn’t really think that Hines would see it much less actually respond to it but to my delight, he took the time to respond!
Never took lessons.. learned on a trampoline in 7th grade because of Jeff Hardy’s signature move in wrestling then just threw it one day on the ground.. been doing the flip 10+ years so now I just have it now from doing it all the time— Nyheim Hines (@TheNyNy7) November 1, 2020
At first I didn’t think much of his response, I didn’t really think it through.
Man, that's honestly really impressive. Your form is amazing for someone who learned to tumble on a tramp. Heck of a game today man, keep it up!— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
Hines “liked” this post but didn’t respond.
Apparently Stephen Holder of The Athletic enjoyed the thread:
Before he re-Tweeted my thread it hadn’t received much attention but Holder fixed that little issue for me. I was enjoying the interaction with everyone seeing and seemingly enjoying the post but as I thought about his explanation more, something didn’t add up.
I watched some pro wrestling growing up, as a lot of boys my age did and Jeff Hardy never put a roundoff in front of his full twists. He was always jumping off of something onto some shirtless guy with long hair. In no time, someone had tagged me on a post that proved my analysis was correct and NYHEIM HINES IS A LIAR!
I asked @TheNyNy7's twin sister Nyah where he picked up his impressive acrobatic TD celebrations we've now seen TWICE in the end zone, she told me that he learned it on his own by practicing flips with the cheerleading squad in high school. #NyheimHines #INDvsDET #ForTheShoe— Larra Overton (@LarraOverton) November 1, 2020
It turns out that Nyheim Hines twin sister told Colts reporter and producer Larra Overton that he learned to tumble by working with the CHEER TEAM in high school.
According to Nyheim Hines twin sister and @LarraOverton I was right, dude learned to tumble from cheer instructors.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
No shame man, but your sister ratted you out lol@TheNyNy7 https://t.co/PoJaxaRONa pic.twitter.com/DY46nOluLK
After I posted the screenshot of Larra Overton’s Tweet refuting Nyheim’s claims on my post he responded to this exchange between myself and Twitter user @PeteinWI:
Am I the only one worried you were gonna hurt your knee?— Peej (@PeteinWI) November 1, 2020
Torn ACL's are a known issue of underrotated full twisting layouts. Luckily he ended up rotating plenty.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) November 1, 2020
Never been a time I haven’t got around... I have too much air time even on a bad round off— Nyheim Hines (@TheNyNy7) November 2, 2020
Again, this came after I made the post questioning his story citing Larra Overton’s report. Hines never commented on that. He also never addressed Overton’s report directly.
While it’s possible my estimation of where he learned to tumble is flawed, I truly am educated on the topic. I feel 10x more confident saying that he tumbles more like a cheerleader than a gymnast, than I do when I write an opponent scouting report and tell you all what to expect to see from the opponent during the next Colts game. And it’s not because I’m some hack taking guesses, I do a lot of work on the scouting reports, I know what I’m talking about but football, especially at the NFL level, is so variable from week to week it’s possible I can put in all the work and still manage to be very wrong.
Tumbling is a little different. For 3-4 years my fulltime job was coaching athletes to do exactly what Hines did and I spent another 6-7 years doing it a few nights a week once my schedule and “real job” started to take up more of my time. So I stand by my analysis that I strongly believe, just based on his technique, he was taught by cheerleading instructors.
Nyheim Hines, for one reason or another doesn’t want to publicly admit he was either on the cheer team or learned his skills from cheerleaders while he was in high school but it’s pretty clear to me, his sister and Larra Overton that Nyheim Hines lied when he Tweeted that he never had any training.
Even with a historic presidential election starting in less than 24 hours, this scandal will surely prove to be the most historically significant scandal of the 2020 NFL season and I’m proud to be the one to break it.