Bank of America Stadium
vs. Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers Stadium
October 25, 2009
20 - 9 Loss
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Capacity: 73,367 seats
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Draft Beer: $7.00
Stadium Parking: $30.00
Bank of America
800 South Mint Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
- Southern Living
There’s just something about the south that brings out the best in its people. The so-called “Southern Hospitality” that permeates through every facet of their daily routine makes the experience of watching an NFL football game down there so much more enjoyable. There’s a sense of community and camaraderie that you just don’t find up north. Southern strangers welcome their northern adversaries to the tailgate table to break bread as fans of the NFL product that’s put out there on Sunday afternoons. I’ve found it to be a universal theme throughout my travels through the southern states.
When I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina, there’s no place I’d rather be for NFL gameday than hanging out with the premiere Carolina Panthers tailgating experience that is PantherFanz.net. Hosted by head coach Dan Ortel, a fixture in the lot for over a decade, the PantherFanz put on an inspired tailgate with genuine Carolina Barbecue and genuine Carolina camaraderie. With characters like Joe the Cedar Street Seer, Patrick, Mike, James, and the others, there’s no shortage of solid pro football conversation and gameday analysis from some of the NFL’s most knowledgeable fans. These guys know the pro game and are happy to debate its finer points accompanied by a couple of local brews right up until game time.
With traditional Carolina Barbecue cooked up on a series of surfaces, these professional blacktop culinarians put out a mouthwatering spread that is on par with any other in the league. This year, Clay from Green Bay prepared rotisserie roasted chicken spinning on the spit over a base of hard wood coals accompanied by an impressive set of adversarial-themed roasted buffalo meat on a second spit spinning to perfection. There was plenty of Carolina Blonde beer chilling in coolers and the exceptional sides that really round out their traditional PantherFanz menu. I’m partial to the incredible southern potato salad that always seem to find a spot on my plate. Apart from inviting myself and my crew, the PantherFanz had their Canadian contingent in town as well as some Carolina Panther fans from Aruba to round out their distinguished list of guests. They are indeed an international brand.
After consuming our fair share of grilled chicken and roast beast, we decided to take to lot to see what the other Carolina Panther fans had cookin’ up. We stopped in on Hall of Famer and PFUFA member Pantherman, who graciously welcomed to his hidden tailgate lair. Actually locating his tailgate is like stumbling onto that elusive underground bar that everyone’s buzzing about in New York City. Past the abandoned rubble of crushed concrete blocks and rebar, this unassuming construction site opened up to reveal the Cat’s Den, a hidden base of operations manned by the Carolina Panther’s biggest fan. Pantherman is a hometown diehard and charter member of the Pro Football Fan Hall of Fame. We had a couple cold ones and talked about the matchup of mediocrity that we expected from Bills/Panthers, while Pantherman jovially served up some grilled southern ham.
Continuing through the lot, we stumbled onto Jason from the Tailgate Rescue Crew and their impressive custom rig. Salvaging this junked fire rescue truck from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jason and the crew meticulously restored the vehicle adding some of their own amenities to convert it into the ultimate Fan Tailgate Rescue Machine. With chrome diamond plate accents, dual beer taps, and a multi-purpose fire pole, this astro-turf floored tailgate cruiser ranks among the best I’ve seen. In honor of their matchup with my Bills, they even imported an expert from upstate New York to prepare some Buffalo-style chicken wings, accenting what was already an impressive spread of great tailgate grill work and cold beer on tap.
As gametime approached, we headed to Bank of America Stadium to see if my Bills might pull out a road win. As an aside, I really have to say that I was embarrassed by the conduct of Bills fans in my section. My feeling on visiting another stadium is that it’s like being invited to someone’s home … respect the home team. It is possible to fervently support your team without being obnoxious, but some fans seem to feel a sense of entitlement when they travel. They ingest their liquid courage, which apparently is a license to act out and be a constant disruption. Although this type of behavior is tolerated at “the Ralph” in Orchard Park, New York (I know, I been going there for years), I’m here to tell you that they won’t stand for it in Carolina. If you’re being disruptive, using foul language, spilling beer on folks or trying to incite fight, the home crowd will get you booted out of their stadium and I applaud them for it. To the younger generation who mistaken believes that their respect is something that’s earned, you’re wrong. Respect is given freely to your fellow man as a courtesy, especially when you’re in their house. You’re an embarrassment!
But I digress … the game was an incredible contest showcasing the mediocrity of two offenses. On this day, my Bills just happened to be less mediocre than the home team. Jake Delhomme threw three interceptions, which the ball-hawking Bills defense took full advantage of, sealing the fate of the Carolina Panthers. The Bills offense, led by journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, played mistake free football and even showed signs of life getting the ball to Lee Evans for the second touchdown of the day and then again to Evans on a 50-yard strike, which led to a Rian Lindell field goal. The running game however was fairly unimpressive and the offense line play uninspired. The bottom line is that after a gritty win the Bills are back in the playoff hunt, hopefully they can string a couple of these together.
For more information on the city of Charlotte, North Carolina check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
NFL: December 12, 2010 - Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
NFL: October 25, 2009 - Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers
NFL: November 16, 2008 - Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers
NFL: October 29, 2006 - Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers
NFL: Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium - 2010 Stadium Tour
NFL: Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium - 2009 Stadium Tour
NBA: Charlotte Bobcats, Time Warner Cable Arena - Arena Tour
NBA: Charlotte Bobcats, Time Warner Cable Arena - General Information
NHL: Carolina Hurricanes, RBC Center - General Information
|City of Charlotte Local Information|
Top Tourist Attractions:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Richard Petty Driving Experience
Carolina BBQ, Fried Chicken, Brunswick Stew
What They're Drinkin':
Carolina Blonde, Highland Brewing Company, Red Oak
Pecan Parking Lot B-3
Local Sports Media:
The Charlotte Observer
Getting to the Stadium:
Bank of America Stadium is located in uptown Charlotte. There's no city metro rail in Charlotte, so if you're a visitor your best bet is to drive to the stadium and park in one of the many lots scattered throughout the city on gameday.
Uptown Charlotte (Buckhead Saloon, Bar Charlotte, Coyote Joe's, Tempo,
The Attic Bar, Breakfast Club)
The Epicentre (Suite, Kazba, Whisky River, Howl at the Moon)
Uptown Charlotte (Mert's Heart and Soul, Lavecchia's Seafood Grille,
Alexander Michael's, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, French Quarter,
The Epicentre (Blackfinn American Saloon, Flemings’s Prime Steakhouse
& Wine Bar, Enso Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar)
Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza
Pocket Map of Charlotte
Stadium Parking Map
Fan Forum: CarolinaHuddle.com
Where to Stay:
Find a hotel in the downtown area as Bank of America Stadium is right downtown. I would suggest the Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard Charlotte, or the Residence Inn by Marriott.
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|Tailgate Rescue Crew||
Built in Dual Taps ... not bad Fellas.
|Importing experts from upstate New York|
|Back Porch on the PantherFanz Prowler||Seer, Coach, Canada, Quest||Myself and Jermain|
|There's the Crew - Let's Go Buffalo!||Mad Mike, myself, and Jermain||Game over. Bills Win!|
|"Why are you wearing a Cowboys Jersey?"||The Quest for 31 Jersey||Kenny, Erik, Jacob, Myself, and Jermain|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have
for my journey to Bank of America Stadium, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
All commentary will be moderated. Your e-mail address will not be published.
From: Brian Mazurowski from Goldsboro, NC
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 6:41 AM
Great pictures and review
didn't see the picture I was looking for (wearing the AFL Maybin
throwback). I have to say agree though, I was also somewhat disappointed
in the conduct of some Bills fans. It seems when the Sabres or Bills
come into town the absolute WORST Buffalo fans crawl out of the gutter
to make us all look bad. I cheered on the Bills pretty feverishly and
was not really messed with aside from the small child beside me calling
TO, Terrell "Broken" the whole game. It was a little disheartening to
see how many Panthers fans began leaving at half time but what can you
do? Anyways, great review and love the site man!
Hey Brian. I'll send over that photo!
From: Kenny Sansone
Sent: Wed, October 28, 2009 6:08 am
Like always, loved the site. Great review and great pics. And I checked out fowling.org also. Looking forward to giving it a shot on Sunday! See you this weekend!
From: Brian Mazurowski
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:23 AM
Met you at a Panthers tailgate spot this weekend
at the bills and panthers game. Was wondering if you're going to post
the pictures? Anyways, good luck and awesome time meeting you!
They're up brother, let me know what you think!
From: Dan Ortel
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:40 AM
Great meeting you and glad everything worked out! If you go up to http://www.pantherfanz.net and click on the link pictures from the lot you will see a bunch of pictures from the tailgate for that day. I believe there are 85 pictures posted there right now. Also, if you have any good shots you took I would appreciate it! The bus is called the 'Pantherfanz Party Prowler'