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'Taste of the NFL' Was a Savory Experience


The seventh annual Jets Taste of the NFL is in the cookbooks and it was a delicious event.

A big reason for the delectability is because of the venue. Cipriani Wall Street's grand ballroom was an excellent space to give more than 500 guests, 20 players and most of the Jets coaching staff lots of room to sample the signature dishes from top restaurants in the area, get autographs and photos, buy memorabilia and bid on player helmets and gift packages, all while doing the good work of assisting the Jets and A&P in fighting hunger in the New York metro area.

GM Mike Tannenbaum and his wife and head coach Rex Ryan and his wife led the Jets contingent and they were energized by the event as were the fans who ran into them.

I met Rex on one pass I made around the main floor of the ballroom and asked him how he was doing. "Great!" the coach exclaimed, and his trademark smile indicated that he meant every word of it. With an hour to go, Mike T and I reflected on the crowd. "They're great fans," Mike said. "They sure know their stuff." No disputing that at all.

I do a disservice to all the fans in attendance and to those whom I met but whose names I can't remember today. But I can tell you that Jason Oshins, the subject of my story on the Taste back on March 18, was there as usual, and so was Ira from Staten Island, who, like me, has been to every one of the seven "Tastes." Ira declared Tuesday night's event "one of the best ones they have ever had."

Pro Bowl players Leon Washington, Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis led the player contingent. Adding even more star power to the event was the surprise arrival of Salt-N-Pepa and former Knicks star John Starks.

Here are some of the preliminary metrics from the event:

*  The 500-plus guests brought in $98,000 in ticket sales.

*  The total amount raised is close to $200,000, which comes in at $30,000 more than last year, or a more than 17 percent increase.

*  And that total dollar amount is the most raised in the seven years of the Jets' Taste of the NFL.

In these difficult times, those are phenomenal numbers. Thanks to all for participating.

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