The real refs are back, and the fans are showing their appreciation.
When referee Gene Steratore and his crew walked out on the field about an hour before the Browns and Ravens kick off tonight in Baltimore, the fans in the stands gave the officials a standing ovation. The officials tipped their caps and waved to the fans in appreciation of the rare case of the fans showing love to the officials.
Steratore and his crew are the first officials to take the field since the NFL ended its lockout of the officials late on Wednesday night. Although officials are rarely popular with fans, the regular officials became popular as the outcry over the replacements’ mistakes reached a crescendo with Monday night’s debacle in Seattle.
So for now, the officials are popular with NFL fans. This won’t last long.