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A noisy Arrowhead could set back the Colts

ROGER MILLS
Published January 11, 2004

Kansas City quarterback Trent Green can tell his Colts counterpart Peyton Manning a little something about dealing with the noise at Arrowhead Stadium. Although Green doesn't have to deal with the clamor now, when he was playing for the Rams he had first-hand experience of what many visiting teams believe is the noisiest venue in the NFL.

"It's going to be loud," Green said. "The last time I played here (as an opponent) was in 2000 with the Rams. Kurt (Warner) got hurt in the first half, and I played the whole second half and it was loud. ... From a communication standpoint, they are going to have to use a lot of hand signals. But watching film, they are pretty equipped to do that."

The Colts have been excellent on the road this season. Their 7-1 record includes victories at Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

"They played at Tennessee, which I would say rivals Arrowhead in terms of noise that's generated," Green said. "That's a pretty rowdy crowd from my experience playing down there, and they seemed to handle that pretty well."

Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said noise makes a difference.

"What changes the atmosphere and environment in this stadium is the crowd noise," Vermeil said. "The crowd noise changes it. For example, in our last home game we got some sacks when the offensive tackle didn't pick up the quarterback's cadence. You gain those kinds of advantages."

MINORITY REPORT: There's an interesting development going on in Steelers country. Coach Bill Cowher says he has put two prominent minority coaches on his list of four candidates to replace defensive coordinator Tim Lewis and wide receivers coach Kenny Jackson, both of whom were fired. Lewis and Jackson are black.

Cowher and Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, chairman of the NFL's diversity committee, defended the team's minority hiring practices.

"You have a right to hire and fire anybody you want," said Rooney, who authored the NFL's Rooney Rule to ensure minority coaches are interviewed for head coaching jobs. "The thing they want to make sure of is that you are willing to give a fair chance to a minority to get the job. We have every intention of doing that here."

The Steelers have asked permission to talk to Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache, who has has one year left on his contract. They also are interested in former Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. Both are black.

"We will do the right thing," Cowher said.

WORTHY SILVER MEDAL: Bengals rookie coach Marvin Lewis turned around the franchise's fortunes and turned some heads as well. Lewis finished second in voting for Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. The award went to New England's Bill Belichick.

"It's great to hear," Lewis said. "I'd just like to pass on the congratulations to our players, to the coaching staff and to everyone in our organization."

One season after finishing a league-worst 2-14, Lewis' Bengals were 8-8 and in the playoff hunt until the final game of the season.

Belichick had 35 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Lewis was second with seven. Dallas' Bill Parcells was third with six, and Philadelphia's Andy Reid received one vote.

HOCUS POCUS: Some have said that some of Brett Favre's performances this season have been magical. That the Packers appear a team of destiny. That something is written in the stars. Packers players see it another way.

"There's no magic out there on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday when we're out there working hard," Packers tight end Wesley Walls said. "I do believe there's a lot of faith in each other on this team. Everyone seems to like each other. If that creates magic, or if anybody thinks that's magic, that's what's good about this game. We want people to believe."

LOCAL FLAVOR: Former USF linebacker Kawika Mitchell, the Bulls' highest pick ever as a second-rounder to the Chiefs, has found himself in quite a position for a rookie. Depending on the game-day health of linebacker Mike Maslowski, Mitchell could start in today's game.

Mitchell, 24, has started six games in a row for the Chiefs in Maslowski's place.

"It can be compared to a bowl game, but I don't think a bowl game is that big," said Mitchell, originally from Hawaii. "We were close to going to bowl games in college, but I never got that chance. To go to a playoff game and to have a chance at a shot at the Super Bowl means a lot."

- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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