As they took the field at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night, referee Gene Steratore and his crew doffed their caps to acknowledge a standing ovation -- the crowd welcoming them back as saviors in stripes.
The love lasted little more than a half before the home fans grew grumpy while the Ravens struggled -- partially due to some yellow flags -- to a 23-16 victory over the winless Cleveland Browns.
Then these saviors heard familiar jeers. Let's consider that progress.
"Pressure is a wonderful thing," Steratore said of his crew's return -- the season debut of "real" NFL officials after their lockout ended early Thursday morning.
"It's not a stressful pressure. It's just pressure. In order to do what we do, it's something that we all embrace. I think as the levels increase, we almost get a little more calm."
The officials, members of the NFL Referees Association, had been locked out since June after their agreement with the league expired. The NFL and the NFLRA came to an agre...