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Referees get standing ovation at Browns-Ravens game

It's safe to say that NFL officials never have been more loved.

Referee Gene Steratore came out for a microphone check before kickoff of "Thursday Night Football" between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. The crowd at M&T Bank Stadium gave the crew a standing ovation. Hilarious.

At the coin toss, Steratore told the crowd, "It's good to be back," according to the Ravens' team Twitter account.

"You know we always pride ourselves in being a face without a name," Steratore said in a pregame interview with The Associated Press. "This will be a little different, but I don't expect it to last too long."

Steratore sais he'd be ready when the first boos rained down on him.

"Without a question," he said. "I've been yelled at by my own children many times, so this won't be any different."

The real officials are back. I watched the game at home in New York on Time Warner Cable. Life is good.

UPDATE: The game went smoothly enough for Steratore and his crew, and the Ravens won, 23-16.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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