As one fan's sign put it, "Finally! We get to yell at real refs! Welcome back!"
With pro-football's officiating fiasco finally at an end, the NFL's union referees returned to work to a standing ovation from the crowd in Baltimore, just days after Ravens fans shouted "bulls***" repeatedly at the much-maligned replacement officials.
Tenth-year veteran referee Gene Steratore led his officiating crew on to the field, tipping his hat to the applause and cheers from the audience.
"Good evening, men, It's good to be back," Steratore said through his microphone at the pre-game coin toss.
The love for the men in stripes didn't last long, however, when the crowd booed a call against the home team.
But as Steratore explained in a pre-game interview, the jeers are just part of the job.
This will be a little different, but I don't expect it to last too long. And that's the goal -- is that we can let them get through that portion of this. It's happy to be back, it's happy to be appreciated. But then as soon as the game starts, it's happy to disappear again and let the entertainers entertain.
The Ravens went on to defeat the Cleveland Browns 23-16.