If the Cleveland Browns meet the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs, the highlight may be the post-game handshake between the two coaches.
The relationship was strained last week when Bill Belichick of the Browns took potshots at Marv Levy of the Bills for suggesting the Browns faked injuries to slow the no-huddle offense Monday night.
Levy has made the suggestion in the past about other teams, including the New York Giants when Belichick was the team's defensive coordinator.
Belichick replied: "I think that's a bunch of garbage. It's hard for me to have respect for Levy for saying that. It's demeaning."
It's almost unheard of in the NFL for one coach to publicly criticize another coach's ability, but Belichick even did that.
"Here's a guy offensively who came in and tried to run the Wing-T offense in Kansas City. That was brilliant," he said.
Belichick then noted how the Bills went back to the no-huddle at halftime of the Carolina game two weeks ago.
"The best thing he did was turn the offense over to Jim Kelly in the second half of the Carolina game and against us," he said. "There's a guy, Jim Kelly, who can run an offense and move an offense. Unfortunately, he [Levy] didn't call more plays against us, like he did against Carolina. I would much rather go against him than Jim Kelly."
Levy responded: "I don't want to keep the kettle boiling on it. He said he has no respect for me. I don't care if he respects me,"
Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer criticized defensive linemen Charles Haley, Leon Lett and Tony Tolbert for their poor play against the Washington Redskins last week, then apologized.
"I made a mistake and I'm man enough to admit it. I think it was wrong for me to criticize individual players," Switzer said.
Switzer apparently learned these millionaire athletes have fragile egos and don't like public criticism.
MA Vince Lombardi would have had trouble understanding all this.
Speaking Out II
As Dan Marino prepared last week to continue his assault on Fran Tarkenton's all-time passing records today, Tarkenton complained publicly that the league hasn't called him to appear at any of the record-setting games and hasn't done much promotion of Marino's record-setting quest.
Marino, who has 3,683 completions, needs four today to break Tarkenton's record. He also figures to break the records for passing attempts, yards and touchdowns this year if he stays healthy.
When even some of his former teammates said Tarkenton was concerned only about himself, Tarkenton responded that his real concern was that the league shows little interest in its history.
"If someone in the league thinks I'm a self-serving jerk, that's fine if it gets them to promote the Luckmans, the Grahams and the Baughs," he said.
Moon over Minnesota
Warren Moon plays his first game against his former teammates today when the Minnesota Vikings play host to the Houston Oilers.
He said he has no bitterness about the 1994 trade, but he said, "I've been able to prove on the field they made the wrong decision."
He said he wants to win to have "bragging rights" when he goes home.
When he goes home, he also faces an arraignment on Oct. 24 on a Class A misdemeanor assault charge involving his wife. Even though they've reconciled, authorities are pressing charges based on her statement that, "I was afraid for my life. I saw black and could not breathe."
Moon said: "We've got a plan that involves a lot of different things -- our counseling, the way we communicate, how much time we spend together, the way we're handling our kids throughout this thing. We think we're definitely going in the right direction."
Justice, NFL style
Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher was fined more ($7,500) for complaining about the officials than the two officials who made the mistake.
The two ruled that the Steelers were penalized for having 12 men -- they had 11 -- on the field for a Minnesota field-goal attempt.
Referee Gordon McCarter was fined $4,009 and Ben Montgomery $2,826. That was a game check for the part-time officials.
The NFL says Cowher's fine was much less than a game check. But it shows the NFL is more concerned about criticism of the officials than trying to figure out why there has been a rash of bad calls this season.
The coaching derby
With the New Orleans Saints off to an 0-5 start, Jim Mora is the coach on the hot seat right now.
But the surprise coaching move could be the departure of New England's Bill Parcells at the end of the year. NFL insiders are speculating that Parcells may pack it in at the end of the year.
Parcells isn't happy that owner Bob Kraft is asking personnel men around the league about his signing of several ex-Giants.
Parcells also has had heart problems in the past, and his personal physician is traveling with the team.
Parcells isn't happy about the 1-3 start, either, and may decide he has a bigger rebuilding job on his hands that he thought he did.
The Buddy file
Buddy Ryan is facing criticism in Arizona. The man who announced a year ago that there's a winner in town has started out 1-4 for the second straight year. Last week, fans showered him with beer and screamed, "Buddy Must Go."
Ryan's reaction? "Compared to Philly, this is nothing," he said.
He added: "As general manager, I think the coach is doing a hell of a job."
He also said, "It's all my fault. These are my players, my guys. I brought them here or kept them here. I'm the No. 1 guy you can point the finger at as being responsible. But I'm also going to be responsible when they do good."
Owner Bill Bidwill said last week that Ryan is safe at least through the end of the season.
The Ford Cadillac
Barry Sanders is doing a commercial for Cadillac. That's not unusual, except that the Detroit Lions are owned by William Clay Ford of the Ford Motor Co. Fords.
What do the Fords think about their most famous player endorsing a General Motors product?
"We've talked about it. It's a fabulous spot," a team spokesman said. "The only thing better would have been if it had been a Lincoln."