BEER BAN: The Bills have banned beer sales for all Rich Stadium playoff games to head off another goalpost wrecking outburst like the one that followed Sunday's game.

The Bills will also beef up their security to stop the "thuggery" that followed the team's AFC East-clinching 24-14 victory over Miami, said General Manager Bill Polian. "We had the worst situation in the stands that we've ever had since we've been here," he said. "That situation will not be allowed to exist -- first of all, because it's dangerous. Second of all, because . . . it gives Buffalo and Western New York a black eye. It tarnishes the image of the team and the 99 and nine-tenths percent of the good fans."

MODELL PATIENT: Browns owner Art Modell was scheduled to be released from the Cleveland Clinic today after successful hernia surgery yesterday morning.

Modell, 65, developed the hernia on his chest after heart-bypass surgery in April. Advised to rest at home four or five days, he is likely to miss the team's game in Cincinnati Sunday. It will be the first regular season game he has missed in the 30 years he has owned the Browns.

BIG CHIEF: Merril Hoge has won the Chief Award, presented to the member of the Steelers' organization who best exemplifies the qualities of late Steelers founder Art Rooney.

SECOND CHANCE: Brent Fullwood, the former Auburn star who did not carry the ball from scrimmage one time in 10 games with the Browns, had a tryout with the Dolphins.

But team spokesman Harvey Greene said it may be too late in the season to add a player not familiar with the offense.

BAD BREAK: Steelers DL Lorenzo Freeman will miss Sunday's game with the Oilers because he broke his left foot in practice Wednesday. No roster move as yet.