WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Thursday Night Football carried quite a different tune for NFL referees last night.
Just four days removed from replacement referees getting ripped with the “loudest manure chant” Al Michaels has ever heard, Baltimore Ravens fans gave the returning regular officials a standing ovation as they took the field roughly one hour before kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium.
For an encore, the first penalty of the game was called on the Cleveland Browns, which brought a second chorus of cheers.
The love would be short-lived, however.
As soon as a flag was thrown in the Ravens’ direction those same fans who cheered minutes earlier weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure.
It was almost poetic.
Head linesman Gene Steratore and his crew may have had some rust to shake off, but their return was largely a success. Not a bad feat given the the 24-hour heads up they received about returning to work.
As for the game, the Ravens defeated the Browns 23-16.