The Cowboys came up with an explanation on Saturday, per Mike Florio of NBC Sports. Dallas explains that the man seen wearing home team gear on the visiting team sideline is an ordinary liaison between the video board operators and network broadcast staff:
“It’s a member of the game day entertainment staff. He stands next to the ‘green hat’ who is the network TV person who works with the officials to coordinate TV timeouts. His job is to communicate to our internal video board people when a TV time out is coming and how much time is left in that timeout as they come out of a break. He does not stand in the team bench area. They stand just outside the bench area on that side of the field.”
It’s a convenient excuse, but it passes muster. NFL sidelines are crowded with gameday staff, security, independent photographers, VIP’s, and any number of other people besides the teams actually playing the game. That doesn’t make the optics any better, especially considering that Saints star receiver Michael thomas was fined $30,000 for taking a cell phone to the sideline weeks ago. For now, Saints fans can rest knowing that their team wasn’t cut low by crooked officiating or some home-cooking on the sidelines – they just got beat.