A brief scuffle erupted Sunday following the New England Patriots' AFC playoff victory over the Raiders when Raider players Howie Long and Matt Millen confronted New England General Manager Patrick Sullivan.
Sullivan's father, Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, attributed the fracas to bad blood between his family and Al Davis, managing general partner of the Raiders.
According to both Sullivans and Long, Patrick Sullivan spent a good part of New England's 27-20 victory heckling Long, a native of Boston, for remarks he was quoted as making about the Patriots' organization in Boston newspapers last week.
"Sullivan was yelling at me throughout the game from the New England sidelines. He's the jellyfish of Foxboro," said the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Long, who also referred to the Patriots' general manager as "a wimp" and "spineless."
"At the end of the game I walked up and faked like I was going to hit him to make him squirm," Long said. "I wish there weren't laws to protect this guy."
Said Sullivan: "I wasn't yelling at him the whole game, I was only yelling at him half the game." Sullivan said that as he was talking to Long outside the runway leading to the locker rooms, Millen, a 250-pound linebacker, came up behind him and struck him on the back of the head with a helmet.
"I was seeing a couple of stars and my players pulled me away," said the 33-year-old Sullivan, who is of average size.
"Was I going to go after him? That would be pretty silly."
Billy Sullivan, meanwhile, suggested that Long's attitude was the result of an attitude handed down by Davis. Sullivan was one of the most vocal opponents to Davis' move of the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982.
"I'm disappointed they have to reach that low ebb," Billy Sullivan said of the Raiders' players. "I think it reflects the character of the guy on top--Davis."
But Long said his attitude had nothing to do with the conflict between the owners.
"I don't know the father," he said. "I just think he (Patrick) is a classless slob."