Colts running back Nyheim Hines caught a pass out of the backfield in the second quarter of today’s game against the Lions. After sprinting 22 yards up the sideline and twirling over a couple defenders on a dive into the end zone, Hines immediately created a second highlight: He lined himself up, took a running start, and threw himself into the air.
He flipped upside down, his hands pushing off the turf and landing him upright, his legs twisting him around in a circle. He was doing a celebration, a gymnastic feat. He was doing a really cool flip.
According to friend of Defector and gymnastics expert Dvora Meyers, this move is not called a “flip with a twisty part,” but a “round off to a back with a full twist.” As you can see, Hines nails it! Look at that height! Look at how his feet stick right in that turf.
After his second touchdown of the day, Hines did it again:
This time, he was a little less successful: not rotating the full way around during his twist and landing a little unevenly.
But flipping is hard. As someone who consistently in college would do many cartwheels in a row after drinking too much, I know how easy it is to overestimate your ability to be upside down. I imagine it is even harder to do these flips when you are wearing a heavy helmet and unwieldy shoulder pads, which must make it even more difficult to maintain your momentum and balance.
“Was Hines a gymnast?” I wondered. “Was he maybe a cheerleader at some point?” Not quite. Hines (and his twin sister Nyah) were track stars in high school, but I couldn’t find any evidence that Hines was ever a gymnast.
The flipping is not new, though. Hines does have a dormant Facebook page, on which can be found a blurry photo of him in 2012 (as a freshman in high school) completely upside down while doing a much simpler flip:
This guy just loves flips!