New York Giants: Manning a man down?

In the final 2013 New York Giants win, Eli Manning managed to do a pretty bang-up job in week 17 against the Washington Redskins, but somehow harm himself in the process.

Well, no. He didn’t harm himself. That was Chris Baker’s handiwork. Even thought it didn’t really seem like it was that serious–and maybe it wasn’t–a sprained ankle is still obnoxiously painful. In fact, it was just painful enough to give Manning a seat on the bench for the second half of the game. Not to worry, though. The Giants’ longtime quarter back hasn’t hit Tom Coughlin’s black list, just yet. He’s not going anywhere.fall manning

And now that the season is over, people have stopped obsessing over New York’s failure in 2013 and are asking why he waited so long to do the procedure. Was it carelessness? Denial? What is it, Eli?

So far, a number of theories have hit the World Wide Web, the most interesting of which just so happen to hit Twitter in 140 characters of rants and terrible spelling.

But here’s the rub: with ankle injuries, athletes (and others who use their feet for more than just walking) often suffer minor injuries that are be mistaken as major ones, and vice versa. It is extremely likely that Manning’s ankle injury was prescribed a few weeks of a physical therapist’s attention and it would be fine.

Arthroscopic surgery often goes down when the injury starts to swell and the non-surgical rehabilitation isn’t working. That’s when they usually go under the knife for a procedure that diagnoses the real problem. The word literally translates into the words “joint” and “to look.” If necessary, a surgeon will “fix” the problem during the procedure.

But this isn’t about magical medical maladies and what they mean. It’s really all about how people are reacting to this.

Aside from Giants fans’ tendency to be super nosy, an even more interesting thing to look at is the positive the reaction of football fans to the Manning situation. The same people who were shaming him for a terrible season are now completely supporting him. They want him back on the field. They want him to recover.

Now, he’s a two-time Super Bowl winner. Now, he is amazing, and Coughlin had better not kick him to the curb.

What?

Maybe it’s human nature, but then again, Arizona Cardinals’ Rashan Jackson sure didn’t get this much love.

If anyone–since even Giants fans weren’t feeling it in 2013–has been attending games in the Metlife Stadium, it’d be obvious to see just how little New York fans had to say about their legendary (a matter of justifiable opinion either way) QB while he was playing.

People standing in rows wearing Nicks and Cruz jerseys and holding suspicious drinks were actually booing him and telling him to get the hell off the field. So what’s with the change?

Manning is expected to make a full recovery and be right back on the field as New York’s star quarter back in 2014. Will the fans be as supportive as they currently are, or will it be right back to ultra-shaming and negativity?

It might not seem like such a big deal whether fans are positive or negative at games, online or in print. But it is. Athletic performance is not completely independent of criticism. Last season’s legacy could rub off on both the fans and the players in the next one.

It might actually be laughable to watch New York get bipolar about their players again.

Until the next injury, of course.