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

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.


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CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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