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 lea...