Bank of America Stadium
Green Bay Packers
vs. Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers Stadium
September 18, 2011
30 - 23 Loss
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Capacity: 73,367 seats
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Draft Beer: $7.00
Hot Dog: $4.00
Stadium Parking: $30.00
Bank of America
800 South Mint Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
- Lauren's 1st NFL Game
Here's the thing, and feel free to ask any stadium traveler to verify this if you don't believe me, but attending a football game down south is simply a different experience from the fan perspective as it relates to fan behavior. You don't have the belligerent drunks calling out visitor fans with their false sense of liquid courage. You don't have the type of fan on fan violence that erupted over the summer in San Francisco during the Raiders-Niners preseason matchup. What you do have is a safe gameday atmosphere that's actually conducive to bringing your family to an NFL game (what a concept!). This is the type of gameday environment that the NFL seeks to create throughout the league in its constant pursuit to improve its product. This is the model they should look to emulate.
Call it the values of the Southern Gentleman that are built into their youngsters or the sense of community that's even ingrained into transplants from other areas, but believe me when I tell you that once you cross that Mason-Dixon line, the NFL culture changes. It's not that southerners consume less alcohol during the pregame tailgating ritual or that they are any less fanatic than their northern counterparts, it's that southerners have decided to take ownership of the fan experience in the stands on gameday. These fans police their own and the security staff that's employed in southern stadiums are more qualified than the over-glorified rent-a-cops you find in other stadiums. I've been to many a game down south and seen my share of belligerent fans in southern stadiums, but it's been my experience that they're typically from the north. Misbehaving snowbirds looking to catch a game in another stadium quickly realize that they're not in Kansas anymore. Southerners don't put up with disruptive behavior. Security is called over immediately and the problem is dealt with with a warning at first, followed by a dedicated usher to monitor the situation, and finally removal of the offending fan as necessary. Security works together with their season ticket holder base to ensure that the fan on fan violence rarely escalates.
The solution to curbing this problem in other areas is simple. We, as fans, need to take ownership of our own gameday experience. Each stadium has fan text hotlines that allow ticket holders to report disruptive fans. That's a start. The second step is that stadium owners need to employ a true security force comprised of off duty police officers and qualified professionals. College students and retirees looking to make some extra cash on the weekends does not a security force make. Furthermore, there needs to be consequences for disruptive fan behavior. Season ticket holders should lose their tickets and offending fans should be tossed out immediately. Changing the culture at these stadiums, not limiting pregame tailgating, strikes at the root of the problem, but I digress ...
I was in town for my annual visit to Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife Crystal and our 4 1/2 month old daughter, Lauren. The defending World Champion Green Bay Packers were set to take on surprise rookie sensation Cam Newton in a 1:00pm game on Sunday, so it was an excellent opportunity to take my little one to her first NFL game. Being a southern NFL venue, I had little reservation about bringing Lauren to Bank of America Stadium for her first exposure to NFL in a live setting. If we were in any other region of the country, I would never have attempted it, but as I said above, the stadium experience down south is unlike any other region in the league. Armed with a custom embroidered Carolina Panthers bib that read, "Lauren's 1st NFL Game," we made our way to the parking lot to find PantherFanz.net and Dan Ortel, the ring leader of this three-ring circus that's headquartered a stone's throw from the main gates.
So at nine o'clock in the morning with the tailgate party already in full swing, we checked out DJ Dano and Joe the Cedar Street Seer along with the full compliment of characters from PantherFanz.net. Joe handed me a new concoction for 2011, I believe he called it "Panther Potion". A clear, neon blue liquid featuring a secret blend of several top shelf liquors (did I taste a hint of turpentine in there Joe?), that's intermixed to form an excellent pregame potion that's guaranteed to kickstart your tailgate celebration. Joe Cautioned us that this is a sipping elixir, not a shooter, so being the lightweight that I am, I savored every sip.
After shooting a couple of videos and several photos, we settled in to some excellent pregame NFL conversation centered around the young Cam Newton. The consensus down there is that the Carolina Panthers have finally identified their franchise quarterback and after taking some lumps early on, the recipe for NFL success is becoming clearer in the Carolinas.
As game time drew nearer, we headed to Bank of America Stadium to watch the hometown Carolina Panthers lock horns with the Packers from Green Bay. It was an excellent day for Football and Lauren was visibly enthused about the prospect of her first NFL game. Incidentally, you'd be surprised how many doors open up to a dad carrying a cute little baby with a customized Panthers onesy. We took the elevator, found our way into the 100 level seating area, even free beer from the Tailgaters we passed. Mental note ... Lauren needs to be more involved in the Quest for 31.
Straight out of the gate, the Carolina Panthers were impressive, racing out to a 13-0 lead over the defending World Champs in Cam Newton's home debut. Newton orchestrated solid, methodical drives that showcased his grasp of the offense and more importantly his potential as a capable signal caller in the National Football League. The No.1 overall draft pick finished the day with 432 yards passing to set a new record for most passing yards for the first two games of a season by any quarterback with 854, but his mark was eclipsed a few hours later by New England's Tom Brady. Newton's impressive performance was unfortunately overshadowed by Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, who brought the Panthers faithful back to earth with a 308 yard, two touchdown passing performance of his own to notch the win for Green Bay. The Panthers lost 23 - 30 to a more talented Packer team, but the development of their young franchise quarterback indicates that future success is within their grasp. Go Panthers!
For more information on the city of Charlotte, North Carolina check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
NFL: October 25, 2009 - Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers
NFL: November16, 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.
Compare Prices for Carolina Panthers Football Tickets Here:
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Take a Stadium Tour of Bank of America Stadium:
Bank of America Stadium Tours - click here for info
Ticket Prices: $5 Adults,$4 Seniors,$3 Children
Phone Number: 704-358-7538
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|Some Panther Potion to kick-start the day||
Always good to see P-Dad
|Lauren is Ready for Some Football!|
|PantherFanz Party Prowler||Tailgating with Catman||Sir Purr checks in with "BabyQuest"|
|Gametime! Great Seats.||Let's Go Panthers!||My First NFL Experience!|
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'