HOUSTON, JAN. 4 -- Jerry Glanville will tell you he dresses all in black on game days because it's easier for his players and staff members to find him amid all those white-shirted people who crowd the sideline.

But there are more and more players and coaches around the National Football League who would tell you Glanville's choice of wardrobe is symbolic. Suffice to say that Glanville and his Houston Oilers are not the most popular fellows in the NFL playoffs, regardless of their 23-20 victory over Seattle Sunday in the AFC wild-card game.

Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll, New Orleans' Jim Mora and Buffalo's Marv Levy are a few of the coaches who believe the Oilers are overly rough, unnecessarily tough and sometimes all too ready to resort to dirty tricks.

Noll, after his Steelers lost to Houston toward the end of the regular season, sought out Glanville and gave him a stern, finger-pointed lecture, at one point wringing Glanville's right hand until the Houston coach jerked himself free. Noll made at least two reports to the league offices.

No Seattle players complained of cheap shots after their overtime loss in the Astrodome. But several players around the league have said they'll be more than happy to see the Oilers (10-6) get theirs, and that might not be too long in coming since the Denver Broncos -- the team with the best record in the AFC (10-4-1) -- will be awaiting Houston Sunday afternoon in the Rockies.

The Oilers hardly care. Sunday's victory over Seattle was Houston's first playoff win since 1979. And spirits were so high around the locker room today, Glanville told reporters, "We could probably fly to Denver today without the airplane."

Glanville was asked about his team's image, about its aggressive style and about the comments from coaches, including Noll, that the Oilers take cheap shots.

"You mean some coaches have criticized us?" Glanville said, feigning surprise. "Noooo. We're unaware of that. I'd have been upset, had I known."

Glanville, in just his second year as head coach, says his team played just as hard and just as aggressively last year, but few people minded because the Oilers were 5-11. He says everybody minds now because the Oilers got into the playoffs.

Glanville, who grew up in a poor, tough section of Detroit, loves his underdog, streetfighter image that has become the image of the team.

"I hope that feeling {around the league} continues," he said, "and we'll take all the advantage of it that we can. It's much more fun to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL, and we'll try to get respect in three more weeks {in the Super Bowl}."

Glanville may not care what others think, but the fact is four Oilers have been kicked out of games this season: defensive linemen Richard Byrd and Doug Smith for fighting with the Steelers; Ken Johnson following a flagrant foul against San Diego and offensive lineman Doug Williams for a similar offense against Buffalo.

And, although cornerback Patrick Allen wasn't thrown out of the game for blasting New Orleans kicker Morten Andersen, he reportedly admitted it was premeditated.

Then there's Glanville's favorite expressions on the practice field, which include "For men only" and "Take no prisoners." Some people even look upon his insistence on playing primarily man-to-man defense in the secondary as an overly macho thing. Glanville thinks that's all a bunch of bunk.

Smith, a three-year veteran, said, "I don't think there's anything dirty about it. I think it's great we're getting noticed, but all it is is good, hard football. I don't understand what Chuck Noll is talking about, because the guys I like to pattern myself after are the guys I loved as a kid, Joe Greene and Ernie Holmes. Those were his guys, and they played the same way I want to play."

Probably, a team as smart as the Denver Broncos is paying little attention to dirty play, real or perceived, and a lot of attention to players such as running backs Alonzo Highsmith and Mike Rozier and wide receiver Ernest Givins, who have given quarterback Warren Moon the cast he needs for a strong, versatile offense.

Houston will go into Denver a 10-point underdog. But the Oilers' ball control (47 minutes to 20 minutes against Seattle) may serve them well in snowy Denver.

"We're not going to Denver just happy to still be in the playoffs," Glanville said. "We came into this with a goal. To win four in a row."