ALBANY, N.Y. --
If their fathers didn't own an NFL team, John Mara and Steve Tisch might not cross paths often.
Mara, son of New York Giants founder Wellington Mara and the embodiment of the team's button-down persona, works out of East Rutherford, N.J., as the club's chief operating officer. Tisch has spent most of his adult life in Hollywood producing movies, including Oscar-winning "Forrest Gump" in 1994.
In the last year their lives have become more intertwined. Since Tisch's father, Giants co-owner Bob Tisch, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last summer, the two scions have developed a working relationship, with the younger Tisch taking part in negotiations to build a new stadium at the Meadowlands.
Tisch termed his partnership with Mara "the new generation" of Giants ownership and said his experience swimming with Hollywood's sharks has helped him in his new role. Mara said Tisch has brought a fresh approach to a team whose image is somewhere between conservative and stodgy.
"He's been involved in a lot of negotiations in the movie business, so he knows how to deal with people," Mara said. "He has an easy manner, he's likable. It helps when he's in the room. People come away liking him and respecting him.
"I keep telling him to offer a part in his next movie to the people we're negotiating with," he added with a laugh, "but so far he hasn't taken me up on it."
The Mara family has owned the Giants since the NFL's beginnings in the 1920s. Robert Tisch, a former chairman of the Loews Corp. who served as U.S. postmaster general from 1986-88, bought half the team in 1991 from Wellington Mara's nephew, Tim Mara.
Steve Tisch, 56, earned his first associate producer's credit in 1975 and has had a hand in making 50 movies since, including "Risky Business" with Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner's "The Postman."
After moving back to the New York area to arrange care for his father last year, he became interested in the Giants' stadium negotiations.
The Giants have agreed with New Jersey, which operates the Meadowlands, to build an 80,000-seat stadium that would open for the 2009 season. The team also is interested in sharing the $750 million stadium with the New York Jets.
"It took a little catching up, but he's become an extremely big player in the negotiations with the state," Mara said. "He's come in with some great insights, and some good ideas about the stadium."
One idea that apparently does not pass muster with Tisch is a retractable stadium roof.
"I don't believe it's going to be in our plans," Tisch said last week at training camp.
A major obstacle in the negotiations is a dispute between the Giants and the developers of the massive Xanadu entertainment and retail complex planned for the adjacent Continental Airlines Arena site. The Giants are concerned about traffic and want the complex closed on game days. This month, a judge denied the Giants' request for a court order halting construction of Xanadu.
Tisch and Mara hope a resolution can be reached before acting New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Codey leaves office in January.
"Governor Codey has been enthusiastic and supportive of the Giants organization to get this all in place while he is in office," Tisch said. "He gets the big picture."
"Forrest Gump" was Tisch's big picture, and he would like to accessorize his Oscar trophy.
"I'd love to put a Super Bowl ring around Oscar's neck," he said. "That would look nice on my mantelpiece."