Buddy Ryan punched Houston Oiler offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride during a sideline altercation Sunday night, giving a national television audience the ugliest manifestation yet of a feud that has been simmering all season.
Ryan, the fiery first-year Oiler defensive coordinator who has not hidden his disdain for Gilbride's run-and-shoot offense, appeared to exchange expletives with Gilbride shortly before halftime as the Oilers played the New York Jets, immediately after Oiler quarterback Cody Carlson lost a fumble.
Gilbride took a few steps toward Ryan, who charged forward and struck Gilbride's cheek with his right fist.
The two were quickly separated, and the Oilers went on to win, 24-0, giving Houston its 11th consecutive victory.
"It's a difference in coaching philosophy in the heat of battle," Ryan told reporters after the game. "That's all I'll say about it."
Gilbride declined to comment.
Meanwhile, there was another incident in the press box, apparently related to the one on the field, between receivers coach Charlie Baggett and quality control coach Frank Bush that was broken up by assistant general manager Floyd Reese. None of the three would comment.