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Taste of NFL hits 3 million meals

The Bengals have set a lot of records down through the years, but it's safe to say this is the first time they've hit the three million mark.

As the Bengals celebrated their 13th annual Taste of the NFL Wednesday night at Paul Brown Stadium by selling a record number of tickets, Sarah Cook, public relations specialist for Cincinnati's Freestore Foodbank, said down through the years the event has generated three million meals for the hungry in the organization's 20-county swath through Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Cincinnati is one of the league's most successful "Taste," cities and a big reason is the Bengals go all out. Head coach Marvin Lewis required his players to be there and popular Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham, as master of ceremonies, presided over a generous pile of auction items that ranged from A.J. Green's cleats to tickets for home games. A player always serves as host and this year it was quarterback Andy Dalton.

Cincinnati Bengals hosted 2015 Taste of The NFL event at Paul Brown Stadium benefiting the Freestore Foodbank 06/18/2015

Meanwhile, the crowd mingled with owners, coaches, and players while getting pictures, autographs, and bite-size servings from more than 40 of the city's best restaurants. The price of one ticket Wednesday translated into 450 meals.

An annual tradition continued Wednesday when Bengals president Mike Brown bid on one of the position groups for his wife Nancy. She bought the right to take the players to lunch with her Bengals fans friends that call themselves the Marvinettes in honor of Lewis.

"It's a good mix of foodies and a good mix of sports fanatics," Cook said. "And the players, the team have been really great to us the last 13 years. We love having them on board. It's really great to see what they do off the field and that's giving back to the community."

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