The biggest story in Charlotte wasn’t on the field — it was in the stands!

November 24, 2010 | Nestor Aparicio

to take a job elsewhere. For my party on Saturday night alone we had people purchase tickets from nine states.

Sure, the real story on the field this week was a 37-13 win over the Carolina Panthers and the various struggles of the Ravens on Sunday even in such a convincing victory, but I think the real story over the weekend was how many Ravens fans we had in Charlotte.

The Ravens are so much more than a niche event in Baltimore these days – they are THE event in Baltimore. After 15 years of traveling on the road and doing the first-ever “real” roadtrip the Ravens’ fan base ever did in 1996 to Indianapolis, I’ve seen this grow from a small cult following and seeing a few, rare purple jerseys in a stadium on Sundays into a full-fledged force of nature like it did on Saturday night at The Epicenter.

I heard Gil Brandt the other say this on the internet: Since Labor Day the TOP 14  shows in ALL OF TELEVISION have been NFL games. The 15th had the NFL’s best export, Kurt Warner, appearing in “Dancing With The Stars”.

It’s incredible when you think about it that NFL is the hottest and most rabid entertainment in our culture.

And this weekend in Charlotte, the real story was that 20,000 of us went down there and rooted our team home with a win and a Facebook page full of pictures, stories and memories.

Hell, I got home at 4 a.m. on Monday morning after planning a trip for 171 people, a party for 1,100 people and a tailgate for 475 people.

We loaded beer. We bought chicken. We planned parties. And we always have such awesome people on our trips! Our trips are so much fun! People always want to help and pitch in and we even had a bunch of guys folding boxes because we rolled through 68 cases of Miller Lite and about 60 cases of soda and water as well over the weekend on my buses alone.

I always forget that these are the same people who are tailgating every Sunday, watching these road games from someplace special in their homes or at a local bar and rooting as hard for the Ravens as I am. Many times on these road trips I’ve sat in the upper deck and couldn’t see a purple jersey anywhere in the entire building.

But these roadtrips and the traveling experience are catching on. The experience of seeing the Ravens play on the road is always fun and these games are always the highlights of my year.

We throw great parties at We meet cool people. We have a lot of laughs and smiles. And sometimes, the Ravens even win and we go home happy. And sometimes they lose the AFC Championship in Pittsburgh