Peyton Manning finally, officially retired on Monday in an emotional press conference with nary a dry eye in the house. It feels like a signpost moment in the NFL, perhaps because Peyton was the quarterback whose historic success so directly coincided with the league’s transformation into the aerial game it is today. It’s such an anticipated-yet-wistful moment, athletes poured in tributes to the man over social media, each reflecting on what Manning meant to them.
Cam Newton was one of those athletes, and he certainly had a lot of great things to say about Peyton on Instagram. But within those well wishes was something a little strange:
Did you catch it? Newton’s posts are always filled with colorful spellings and non-standard capitals, but if you wanted to read a certain way, you could see one of those quirks as a code. Jake Beckman is one of those who thinks they’ve cracked the code.
That HGH shade is from this sentence, wherein Cam removes the I in HIGH twice in a row, in two different ways. The letters that remain consistent? H-G-H. Really makes you think:
It’s almost certainly a coincidence — after all, Cam puts a 1 in place of many I’s because he is number one, you see. And if we’re taking his spellings as code, what does the umlaut over the letter U in YOU mean? An oblique reference to the two teams for which Manning played? A secret signal for revolutionaries, the “One if by land, two if by sea” for a social media age? The most “woke” of you can play this game all day, but we’re just going to file this one under coincidence, if only for our own sanity.