Coaches Trade Complments

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Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan are trading compliments almost daily now as they prepare to play Sunday in the A-F-C Championship game in Denver.

Cowher calls the Broncos' coach the best playcaller in football, while Shanahan remembers how he almost became Cowher's offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh in 1992.

But last season, the words they exchanged were much harsher and anger-inducing, and created hard feelings between the two coaches.

Cowher spoke out against the Broncos' penchant for cut blocking -- a legal but borderline technique in which linemen block below the waist on the backside of a play, often when a defensive player isn't looking.

Shanahan, in turn, took Denver reporters to a projection room where he showed them tape of Steelers linemen doing the same thing.


Shanahan says he was a little offended by Cowher's remarks.

What was unusual about the exchange of words was the teams didn't play in 2004. Cowher was reacting to a broken ankle sustained by the Bengals' Tony Williams on a cut block by Broncos tackle George Foster.