We parked, and headed over to the stadium. It was still barely light out, but by the time we arrived at Bank of America Stadium, the night sky was out for the rest of the evening. Course, we did not go 50 feet without being asked, "You got any extras?" or, "You need tickets?"
Let's be honest, I would not drive from Fairfax to Charlotte without tickets, nor would I sell my tickets either. Finally, that all stopped, much to our relief.
We went into the Panthers Team Store where we made some purchases. I managed to pick up the 2008 Yearbook, a beer bottle coozie, a hat, and some gloves (it was frigid tonight!). We then waited for the gates to open, and then the time had come.
It was a zoo, and why not....sold out Monday night game with first place on the line. The pregame festivities came and passed. It was almost time for kickoff...I was so excited, as was all the other 74,000+ on hand.
It was tight, and turnovers kept Tampa in the game, but with the game tied at 17 apiece entering the fourth, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart went off, combining for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes, en route to a 38-23 victory for the first place Carolina Panthers.
It was electric, it was cold, but it was an experience I will never forget. I have been coming to Panthers games for 11 years, but not many know this is the first time I have ever seen Carolina win at Bank of America Stadium.
It's been a long time coming, but the wait was worth it to get my first win over Tampa, with first place on the line, at a sold out Monday Night Football game.
I will finish the Charlotte Chronicles when we arrive in Richmond tomorrow afternoon, marking the end of our trip. It has been exciting but I am sure there is more in store late tonight into tomorrow morning.