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M&T Bank crowds give full-time officials standing ovation before Browns-Ravens game

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Referee Gene Steratore and Ravens coach John Harbaugh share a laugh before the game. (US Presswire)

For an indication of just how beside-themselves-ecstatic everyone (save Packers fans) is about the return of the full-time officials, consider what happened before the kickoff of Thursday night's Browns-Ravens game: the stadium erupted in cheers as referee Gene Steratore made his way onto the field.

And we're not talking wine-and-cheese applause, either. It was a standing ovation. Steratore actually stopped, acknowledged the crowd and tipped his cap. Never in the history of sports has that happened.

Of course, reality set in shortly thereafter. With 11:18 left in the first quarter, the Ravens were flagged for the first time on the evening. As Steratore announced that left tackle Michael Oher had been called for holding, a smattering of boos ensued.

Still, we'll take that compared to what we've all had to endure the three previous weeks.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

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