As the wild, unpredictable first round of the 2011 NFL Draft unfolds on the enormous videoboards in each corner of New Meadowlands Stadium, one thing can be said definitively: A good time is being had by all who are attending the Jets’ annual Draft Day Party.
The party continues for Green & White fans on the east side of their team’s one-year-old home, with a crowd of 3,500 coming out into the stands onto the turf where their heroes perform during the season on Sunday afternoons and, increasingly, on selected Sunday and Monday nights.
“This is great, what the Jets do for families here,” said Rich, a father from nearby Secaucus whose children took part in an “NFL Combine” featuring a 40-yard dash, broad jump and field goal kick among the Jets Fest inflatables. “My kids had a great time playing on the same field Darrelle Revis plays on.”
The North Jersey weather, which was as turbulent earlier in the day as the first round is tonight, has also been agreeable. After tornado warnings and heavy storms throughout the day, the clouds departed in time for the fans to enter the stadium. Tonight it’s been humid but winds have been helping to keep things enjoyable.
The party, presented by the New York Daily News, Pepsi Max, Toyota and Verizon, had several other attractions. Bob Wischusen, the radio voice of the Jets, hosted a predraft program live on ESPN 1050 from 7-8 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage with Greg Buttle. Buttle was joined by fellow Jets alumni Wesley Walker, Bruce Harper and Bobby Jackson, all of whom spent time with the partygoers, signing autographs and posing for photos.
Jets owner Woody Johnson also was on hand early to great the early arrivers before departing for the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, where he joined GM Mike Tannenbaum, head coach before coming to the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for the Jets’ pick, around 8:30, was at the stadium with fans at the party.
“The party was terrific,” said Wischusen. “The different experiences Jets fans were able to enjoy made it completely different than years past, and that’s what the stadium offers. In addition to eating, drinking and watching the draft, families can go on the field, play on the inflatables and go in the Jets locker room. There’s so much more to do. I think people really enjoyed it.”
Rex’s Book Signing Itinerary
Following are the dates, times and bookstores at which fans can have a copy of Rex Ryan’s new book, “Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership in the World’s Most Beautiful Game,” signed by the Jets head coach next week:
Tuesday, May 3, noon-2 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, 555 Fifth Ave. at 46th St., New York, NY 10017. Phone: 212-697-3048
Wednesday, May 4, 7-9 p.m.
Book Revue, 313 New York Ave, Huntington, NY 11743. Phone: 631-271-1442
Thursday, May 5, 7-9 p.m.
Mendham Books, 84 East Main St., Mendham, NJ 07945. Phone: 973-543-4949
Tags: Bob Wischusen, Bobby Jackson, Bruce Harper, Greg Buttle, Jets Draft Day Party, new Meadowlands stadium, Wesley Walker, Woody Johnson
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