EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ben McAdoo insists that he and Giants owner John Mara are "on the same page" regarding the benching of Eli Manning, even though it continues to seem as if they are reading completely different books.
McAdoo's robotic insistence on Friday that "We were on the same page with how it was handled" comes just two days after Mara made it clear there was a pretty significant misunderstanding between him and his head coach. McAdoo announced on Tuesday that he told Manning that the initial plan was for the franchise quarterback to play the first halves of remaining games before giving way to either Geno Smith or Davis Webb -- a plan Manning rejected.
Mara, on Wednesday, said he understood the plan to be that if Manning was "playing well in the first half, we're winning the game, it looks like we've got a chance, the offense is clicking, I would argue then keep him in the game."
Those, quite obviously, are two different things.
When asked if McAdoo presented the plan properly to Manning, Mara said "It was presented the way that Ben thought it ought to be presented. And could we have done it differently? I guess you could argue we could have."
So … same page? Huh?
"I was up front and honest with Eli and I don't have any regrets," McAdoo said.
OK, but what about the fact that Mara said the plan was supposed to be different than what McAdoo told Manning?
"I was honest. I was up front with Eli and I don't have any regrets with the way it was handled," McAdoo said.
OK, but Mara clearly didn't think the plan was to have Manning only play one half. Did McAdoo tell Manning he might play into the second half?
"We were on the same page with how it was going to handled," McAdoo said.
OK, but Mara didn't seem to think they were on the same page.
"We were on the same page," McAdoo said.
OK, fine. Just how much they were even in the same chapter, though, is unclear. Asked if he had talked to Mara about Manning this week, McAdoo said - remarkably - "I have not talked to John recently, no."
That may be true, given the timeline laid out by Mara and the Giants. Mara was pretty clear that when he has been discussing the situation for several weeks with GM Jerry Reese, who had already been discussing it with McAdoo. As hard as it is to believe that Mara and McAdoo wouldn't talk directly about a decision of this magnitude, it sounds like they really didn't.
Unfortunately, and as usual, Reese - the go-between between the head coach and owner - hasn't spoken to the media. That would seem to make things a little more difficult on McAdoo, who has been the awkward face of this controversial moment in Giants history.
"No," McAdoo said. "I'm comfortable with the way we handle public relations."
This decision, of course, has been a public relations disaster for McAdoo and the Giants. The organization as a whole has been universally blasted for their mishandling of this and the mess they've created. And former players have been highly critical of the franchise and of McAdoo for the emotionless, undignified way they've ended the Manning Era.
"Listen, it's an emotional decision," McAdoo said. "I understand. I get it. You know, it's a part of it."
So why hasn't McAdoo showed more - or any - emotions?
"Again, you have to separate the emotions and your feelings and make a decision you feel is right for the organization moving forward," McAdoo said. "I think it's important when you make a change, you state the reason for the change, and it's to evaluate the roster top to bottom. You have to take the emotions out of it, you have to take the accomplishments out of it, and you have to evaluate the roster. It doesn't mean it's the end of the road for anybody."