As expected you'll get an MMO Monday morning where I'll delve into the good, and not so good from last night's game– but for now I want to tell my story the stands; a barometer for how the stadium, and fan base is feeling.
There's a palpable buzz surrounding the stadium in a way I haven't seen before. Whether it's the Cam effect, the Kalil effect, or a combination of both, there's a swagger in the stadium that I can't recall. Even in 2004 with the SI cover, and all the hype, there was always an undertone at BoA of "This is too good to be true" that prevented fans from truly buying in; not so in 2012, which could mean that perhaps we'll finally have the stadium loud for the team on Sundays.
The bandwagon cometh
It was bound to start, but the bandwagon is finally warming up, ready to play its song. While walking around the stadium pre-game I saw a group of people wearing Panthers jerseys, clearly tags just removed, talking about how they "used to be Redskins fans, but now the Panthers are good..." . It's part of success, and as long as these people remain fans, and not just jump off at the first sign of hardship then they'll be welcome additions.
I'm a huge fan of the drumline
They make have a hokey name, but the drumline at BoA "Purrcussion" is a really nice adition that I can;t remember seeing before. I attended two games in 2011, and did see them, despite the fact they were formed in 2010. It injects a bit of the college atmosphere at home, and I think it's something they could expand.
More after the jump
Craft beer at BoA? Yes please!
I'm used to $8 Coors. At this point it's par for the course, but it was really welcome to see BoA Stadium support local brewers. Selections from NoDa and Old Mecklenburg from Charlotte, as well as Foothills out of Winston Salem helped bolster the selection considerably. Me? I went for Foothills' 'Hoppyum IPA', which is always a good choice.
Fans are a lot more vocal.
I've been to plenty of games in Charlotte where surrounding fans couldn't tell you the starting QB, let alone anything more complicated. On Friday it seems the fan base are more engaged, and intelligent. When Hardy got drawn offsides, they knew, when there was a busted play, they knew. It was refreshing to see a better caliber of fans in the stadium, even though it was disheartening that Jimmy Clause and Olindo Mare were booed again as they entered the game.
Weirdest moment of the night
Josh Vaughan runs for a decent gain. The guy behind me stands and screams
"That's what I'm talking about! MOOOOOOOOOSE!!!"
I'm not sure whether he didn't know who Muhsin Muhammad was, got confused whether he still played for the Panthers, or somehow thought he was a running back– but either way it was beyond bizarre.
Moment of the night
I haven't had a chance to watch the replay I DVR'd, but I hope this made the broadcast. During the second quarter when the stadium were doing one of their many "Dance and get on the jumbo-tron" routines the camera cut to the sideline where Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert were doing a perfect rendition of 'The Wobble' that lasted a good 30-40 seconds.
The crowd went as crazy for their dance as the first quarter TDs, and it was a wonderful moment of fan/player interration. The camera cut to Jimmy and Cam who were absolutely losing on the sideline as Stew and Tolbert finished their dance