Fans watching the NFC Championship game almost got an up-close look at Michael Thomas’s backside, but some quick camera work by the Fox production crew saved the day.
In the first quarter of the game, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver caught a pass and was yanked down by a defender who got a good handful of his pants. As Thomas was tackled, his pants came down and his butt was briefly exposed, but Fox responded by quickly cutting to an aerial shot of the Superdome. Video of the quick save went viral on Sunday, with many showing footage of the almost-gaffe on social media.
The cut was so quick, many people watching didn’t even see the accidental exposure and some took to Twitter to ask if it was a technical glitch.
This is not the first time that a player has accidentally been exposed during a sporting event, and certainly not the most egregious. During the 2015 NBA Finals, LeBron James was adjusting his shorts when he inadvertently exposed himself in full view of cameras. The incident took place while James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the huddle during a timeout. While James was listening to head coach David Blatt, he reached into his basketball shorts to make a quick adjustment that just happened to be shown to the world.
Perhaps the most famous of sports exposures took place in 1990, when Chicago Cubs utility player Steve Lyons momentarily forgot where he was after hitting a single and pulled down his pants to free some loose dirt.
As Lyons told MLB.com, he was intently listening to the first baseman argue with the umpire whether he was actually out and didn’t even think about how he was exposing himself to the world.
“I was in tune with the argument and forgot where I was for a second,” Lyons says. “I guess I thought I was back in the dugout. So I pulled them down. I pulled them down to get the dirt out.”
As soon as Lyons realized that he had pulled his pants down in front of tens of thousands of fans at the stadium — and countless more watching on television — he flashed an embarrassed smile. When he returned to the dugout after three outs and a half inning in the field, a woman threw some $1 bills at him.
While Michael Thomas wasn’t exactly that exposed during the NFC Championship Game, the production crew in the booth for Fox made sure that no fans got to see too much of his backside.