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Too Early? Hah.
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL 2015

 

With the draft still in the future and even free agency just getting started in print, why would anyone attempt to predict anything, even divisions, in the NFL? Well, we do know stuff like administrative changes, team character, etc. etc. That usually handles about 75% of the results for some reason or other. Anyway I think it's time for division predictions 2015, rev 0. We at least know some things just a month removed from the Super Bowl. Too early? Of course. Can we still make most of it stick? Probably. At this stage it's a just an added referendum on how well teams will draft and sign personnel as well as on how the in-place stuff will gel.

We'll know more in mere weeks. More than that in mere months. Everything in a year. I don't feel like waiting a year. Not even mere weeks. The NFL's been just too easy for too long to predict on a coarse scale. Besides, who wants to read about football with NBA and NHL playoffs going and baseball in full swing? Maybe these days even that's a bad question.

 

AFCE

New England: The increasingly corrupt-looking "Deflategate" notwithstanding (another NY media name, and why not since they are the driving force in turning what would be a misdemeanor even if it were true into this year's CSI:NFL scam), the Patriots have their needs scoped out and their radar scanning the premises as usual. Reports of Tom Brady's imminent demise have proven a bit exaggerated. But the reasons for believing they will re-re-repeat as division champs have a lot to do with what's going on elsewhere in the division.

Miami: The Fins, predicted by many to be the primo competition for New England last year, were just that --- until New England woke up. Then they started to fold under pressure, finally collapsing with a playoff spot, if no longer first place, in sight. That Joe Philbin was brought back was a head scratcher for some --- no, all --- outside observers. Fin fans should stock up on cortisone for their itchy scalps again.

Buffalo: The insertion of middling but competent Kyle Orton took the Bills to new levels of offensive punch, which says a lot. The defense needed no help. Enter Rex Ryan, great defensive coordinator. Exit Jim Schwartz, great defensive coordinator. Unfortunately, Rex will run the offense too. It's hard to picture Orton remaining at the helm. Rex's track record for quarterback development speaks for itself, and not well. Clearly he's obsessed with beating NE. That doesn't explain why the Bills were obsessed with him. They violated the first rule of everything, fixing something that wasn't broke. That usually begs for collateral damage. It might happen unless the fiery Ryan's personality rubs off on the offense... and he develops a quarterback.

New York: The Jets were sinking. The offense was becoming nonexistant with no leadership and no quarterbacks. Enter Todd Bowles. Former safety, fine defensive presence, he seems to be just what the Jets don't need. Somehow it seems they and Buffalo have tried to outdo one another. Word is he's more measured and cautious than Rex. Who isn't? Still, Rex' effervescence was supposedly something that inspired his team. Why do teams persist in thinking a great defense will take the division from New England? More to the point, how long do they intend to run the experiment?

 

AFCS

Indianapolis: The team that probably ought to be on trial for soft footballs has a lot more 'splainin to do regarding what happens every time they face their eternal interconference rival in or out of the playoffs. Sure looks now like an attempt to sabotage their biggest obstacle. Are they the threat that Luck was supposed to make them? Well... yes and no. The lightning rebuild may finally be having the growing pains it should have had at the start. But in this division they have a shot at the title. They've owned it so far.

Houston: It's as unclear whether Ryan Mallett is the answer in Houston as it was Hoyer in Cleveland after 2013. Not enough info. Keenum anyone? One thing is certain --- with the former New England OC as coach the offense ought to improve, wouldn't you think? Then again, we had this discussion last year and they drafted Clowney, a MIA (not 'Miami') defensive end, on the eve of JJ's transition from great DE to possible all-time immortal. It begs the question of whether anyone upstairs is listening to O'Brien. Or whether he's listening to himself. The defense has been more than adequate. They have plenty of auxiliary strength to overcome Indy. But prospective juggernauts missing that one golden piece only have so long to figure it out before square-one beckons again.

Tennessee: If anyone can give me two even passable reasons why these guys aren't headed for another year of mediocrity, I'll listen.

Jacksonville: Whether the Jags can overtake their floundering rival in Nashville depends, as it does with most bottom feeders, on too many things to predict. Bortles showing signs of maturation would be a biggie. But it's just another 'if'. You never know. Young teams sometimes just suddenly come together. That's the plan anyway.

 

AFCN

Baltimore: A strong showing late in the season made the Ravens a household word again for a while. Blowing two 14-point leads to New England and then whining about it did nothing for their street cred though. If Ben is no longer the best QB in the division (and he may yet be), Flacco continues to be the heir apparent. Elite? Who cares? Viper Joe makes them go when they do go. As usual their defense is their strong point. It's not what it was though, and they're scrambling to fix that. How well they fix it will determine their spot.

Cincinnati: The Bengals have to be the most dissed strong team in the league, and it's their own fault. But they are built to win in their division, and typically they do that well. Andy Dalton may be closer to John Brodie than John Unitas, but Brodie was still good. The question will be whether their O can generate enough to beat Baltimore. In the absence of a ton of skill players, that comes down to Andy vs. Joe, and so far Joe's winning that battle.

Pittsburgh: The Steelers continue to be a question mark. Their defense showed better than expected last year, but it was being towed by some dinosaurs who may become extinct. The offensive brain trust, with the prickly Todd Haley at the helm, seemed to do wonders for Ben when he wasn't threatening to stuff Haley into the Gatorade barrel. Then again, maybe that's part of a plan to make the giant QB more combative? Ben continues to be great, but it's hard to see the Steeler culture overwhelming what appear to be deeper rivals.

Cleveland: Last year we wondered whether we'd be putting the Browns higher, maybe even first, for a good while. Oops. For a team that stayed so close to the top for as long as they did, the crash may have been overstated, but it was still a crash. Has the coach turned out to be an owner's placeholder? Is Manziel worth anything? Is that what deep-sixed their chances last year? Is hometown product Hoyer fed up? Shanahan was. The Browns are showing way too many signs of dissolution. Changing their once-iconic uniforms won't help, unless the new Bengals-like color brings Paul Brown karma back to a Browns' franchise he didn't found. Josh McCown sounds a lot like Kyle Orton in Buffalo. And odds of all competition hovering a shade above .500 again aren't good.

 

AFCW

Denver: The only reason these guys are here is that I can't figure out where else to put them. Against strong competition (even against the Colts) Manning looked done. Maybe he's not. If he's not, they finish first by virtue of their competition. He didn't hand-pick this venue for nothing. If he is done (or gone), prepare to crown a new division winner. Gary Kubiak comes off a good performance as Ravens' OC and several bad ones as Texans' HC. If the defense stays decent, the offense ought to be ok coaching wise --- considering Manning does most of that. If he's not done. Or gone. Doesn't sound much like a lock, does it?

Kansas City: Why put these guys here? Well, Reid is a pretty good coach, Smith is a pretty good QB, they have a pretty good D, and the Chargers may be in for a season of distraction.

San Diego: Is this the last year we'll be calling them that? The team that Rivers has led, at times heroically, has other issues too. They aren't what you'd call deep. They do have holes. When all the parts are together they're pretty formidable. They should be formidable enough to beat KC. But then there's all that LA talk. Why would they care? Well, San Diego's a nice place and it's been home to them since 1961. But even if they'd all love the move, it's hard to see how all that noise won't be a distraction. It's not a good tiebreaker.

Oakland: These guys are immune to distraction. What more can it do? As the NFL prepares to shuttle franchises to places that have stadia befitting their regal stature, the Raiders are sure to be a player --- unless nobody wants them. Someone will. Oh yeah, the team... every year we hear how they're ready to break out. Every year they string together some impressive games. Then... poof. They have what looks like a good young quarterback. Show us already.

 

NFCE

Dallas: Finally, a year shows up in which we can just plain plop the Boys here without feeling most of those ifs, ands and buts. They were clearly the best team in the division. Nearly the best team in the NFC. They'll probably be back, secret videos of Dez notwithstanding. I think. Hey, it's the Boys.

Philadelphia: Does Kelly really want a new QB with Foles coming back and Sanchez having mostly shined despite his press coverage when thrown in? Maybe a little D work is in order instead.

New York: Why put the Giants here? Isn't it their year to rise from the ashes and shoot to the top? They'll probably be better than last year. How hard is that? They might even overtake Philly if they founder. But phoenixes (phoenices?) don't grow on potato vines. Still, with Coughlin, it could happen.

Washington: The only thing worse in Washington than the Executive Order Branch is the Redskins. The Branch has earned its criticism. The Redskins will continue to be the DC lightning rod for misplaced (along with well-placed) ire. And they'll probably continue to do their part to earn it.

 

NFCS

Atlanta: Mike Smith is gone. Quinn is in. Is this the stimulus that pulls what's supposed to be a talented team out of the swamp? That's a biiiiiiig 'if'. Unfortunately for the division, it stinks so bad that it may be enough. This neighborhood is so defunct that mere uncertainty seems no more than a speed bump. It may even be an advantage considering the certainties of hindsight. And Atlanta may have more horses than anyone else --- if their D gets better (likely with Quinn) and their O-line gets a total revamp (not as likely).

Carolina: Why put a team as hamstrung offensively as the Panthers in second place even? Well, that D is still pretty good. And it's the NFCS. That's why.

New Orleans: The team with the best QB in the division plus a lot of familiar names around him was said to be in trouble before last year. Most of us didn't listen, yours truly included. It was true.

Tampa Bay: I don't know if Warren Sapp is breaking open doors dressed like a pirate and handing out beer or if he's in jail. I do know that Sapp breaking open offensive lines is about the only thing that might move this stalled bunch out of the cellar. But again it's the NFCS, where amazing things happen.

 

NFCN

Green Bay: Why do I rank these guys over the Lions? They really aren't that much better. But considering the Packer 'relationship' with league officials versus that of the Lions, they get the tiebreaker. And there's that home-field thing too. Plus Rodgers.

Detroit: It would have been interesting to see how Detroit would have fared in the playoffs had the aforementioned officials not intervened against Dallas. It will be more interesting to see how they fare this year. For some reason, Caldwell doesn't inspire visions of lions (real ones) chomping their way through the competition. But they have some talent. A couple of pieces... you know the story.

Minnesota: Assuming Teddy grows into his role, the Vikes just might improve along with him. It's hard to see them improving to the Lions' level though. Hopefully they've realized AP isn't going to carry them to the division title whether he's there or not. Face it, even Seattle without Wilson would have been just another .500 team with a great running back.

Chicago: The wheels have come off. You gotta believe to think Da Bears will just sort things out. I don't.

 

NFCW

Seattle: They were convinced they were the best. They're young. They have a good coach. Why wouldn't they win the division? I can think of plenty of reasons why they wouldn't win the conference, but the division? Might be close depending on some things (these guys themselves being one of them) but they'll figure it out. I think. Then again, look what happened to Frisco.

Arizona: Do I think Palmer will be back with his new contract to get hurt again? Ok, maybe that's a little unfair, but I think 'maybe'. Arians still has to figure something out for his dwindling roster besides QB anyway. Stanton was good. Between the two, Arians probably can focus on a variety of other needs. He's the main reason I have these guys second.

San Francisco: Were the Niners really a great team with a great QB just waiting for distractions like Harbaugh to go away? Could be. Or not. We shall see. They shall have to show us though. The honeymoon's over.

St. Louis: Every year someone somewhere says the Rams are ready for a breakout year. Never happens. Will it happen this year? Could they even finish second? Sure. Lotsa things could happen. But raise your hand if you think Sam is coming back to lead the league in passing.

 

QOTD - 3/1/15 Tags: MLB

MLB:  There is a report that says MLB is considering playing "some" future Spring Training Games in Cuba.  If you were MLB, would you do it?  If so why?  Who would you send?  Is there another place that you would consider playing S/T games?

NASCAR Update And Other Fast Stuff 3-1-15
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NASCAR Atlanta Motor Speedway Travis Kvapil Kyle Busch New Rules Jeff Gordon

                         

Are the stars out tonight? I don't know if it's cloudy or bright.... Love that song and I love to welcome all you Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. IT"S MARCH 1st!!!! WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!! Are we there yet? Any birdies a singing, frogs a leaping, tulips a bloomin' or chocolate bunnies and marshmellow peeps cringing? Oh Spring. Where art thou? Joey Logano doesn't care. He has his Daytona baby safely strapped into the back seat. I certainly hope he doesn't have to stop quick because that trophy is heavy. So what else is happening in the world of Left Turns?

TRAVIS KVAPIL CAN'T QUALIFY FOR ATLANTA RACE

That's right. He lost his ride but not how you'd think. Friday mourning surveillance cameras caught the Ford F250 pulling the unmarked white trailer from a Georgia hotel parking lot. Only it wasn't the crew driving it. The #44 car was in the trailer along with $17,500 worth of tools and race equipment, and a $100,000 race engine.

Crew members tweeted pictures of the truck and trailer. Police have persons of interest. Finally someone called the police to report a car sitting on a back road in Loganville, GA. They soon found the pick up with the drivers door broke and the ignition tore out. No word on the trailer but owner John Cohen says he's more worried about the car. We'll get it ready for Las Vegas next weekend. His Team Xtreme is a low budget team. That car is worth a mint to them. The cars discovery came too late for Travis to get it to the track and into qualifying. There's next week. 

JEFF GORDON FAREWELL TOUR UPDATE

Atlanta Motor Speedway had a gift for Gordon. A maroon w/ yellow #24 bandolero car for his kids to drive. Gordon said his son Leo will probably want to sleep in it so it will be in his bedroom for the next year or 2 till he can drive it.....For real?

Gordon talked of the Atlanta race being his first race and Richard Petty's last race. Richard walked around the garage handing all the drivers money clips with their starting position on it. He says he still has his but wasn't too proud of starting 21st.

DALE JR TWEET

"Left sunny Daytona. Came home to no heat and busted pipes. I'm ready for spring. Don't know how the north manages with minus temps up there."

I'm not sure either Dale. Any body else?

                   

ANYBODY SEEN 2 FEET OF SNOW OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSE LATELY? >>>> 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIO ANDRETTI.....YEAH!!!!!

KYLE BUSCH RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL

Lets see here, Klye left the Daytona hospital on Tuesday to go to a hospital in Charlotte, NC. His leg surgery was at Daytona and they operated on his foot in NC. So Saturday he was released. He's not scheduled for any more surgeries. A return date is not known either.

David Ragan got a call from JGR to drive the #18 car for the next 9 races. David drives for Front Row Motorsports and didn't have a fulltime schedule for this year due to lack of sponsorship. All parties talked it over and it was agreed he would drive the #18 for 9 races and come back to Front Row. This could be a windfall for Front Row. If David were to win a race in that car his win would qualify him for the Chase.

David is aware of his good fortune and says that he will take every opportunity to make the best of the top ride. He owes Kenseth and Edwards a big thank you for vouching for him and bringing his name up as a replacement driver. They all worked together at Roush Fenway Racing at one time. Good Luck David.

Erik Jones from the Camping World Truck Series is scheduled to take over the #18 ride after David goes back to Front Row.

OTHER NOTE WORTHY SUBS

Brett Moffitt will be subbing for Brian Vickers in the #55 Aarons Dream Machine Toyota for MWR. 

Regan Smith will be subbing for Kurt Busch in the #41 Haas Automation Chevy for SHR.

NEW RULE FOR NASCAR MEMBERS

Section 2.11 Required Notice. Under the Membership section of the rule book. Da rules has changed.

"Any NASCAR member charged with any violation of the law (misdemeanor and/or felony) shall notify NASCAR prior to the next event or within 72 hors of being charged whichever is earlier."

NASCAR members are now expected to maintain a certain standard of professional behavior. This new rule is another mechanism to that end. NASCAR has made it clear that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry.

I call it the Kurt Busch rule.  Me thinks he'll be gone for a long while. Can't say he didn't have it coming but I'm still sorry for him. But then again this just may be the thing that finally sets him straight.

AC/DC LEAD SINGER BUYS AN AMERICAN MUSCLE CAR

Brian Johnson has bought his first American car. Not just any car. He's buying a limited edition 627 HP Mustang GT. Ford is teaming up with Richard Petty's Garage to bring out this car. Starting price of $92,000. You want one? Go to your nearest Ford Dealership and order it.

I had no idea Richard has a garage that fixes up collecters cars. He moved his race team out of the shop and left the mechanics stay that didn't want to move to North Carolina with the race team. They do all the modification and fabrications. I really want to see this car. Must be special. Well yeah, it'a a Mustang...

TIME FOR A SELFIE

                   

DAYTONA 500 UPDATE

Gordon was the pole sitter and he managed to lead the most laps with 87. Bonus points. My most handsome Knight of the Mobile 1 managed to take himself out early on lap 42 he bounced off the wall and took a few with him. I hope he can get his head in the game soon.

Dale Jr lead 32 laps AND THE CROWD WENT WILD!!!!! Yeah they did.

On lap 161 Keselowski went to the garage for "oil containment issue"which he said caused his early departure. That's only the 2nd DNF in his Cup career.

Lots of high speed rolling parking lot sit on the edge of your seat drama through out this race. Got to say, I was really enjoying it. No big one to speak of which was ok by me. The last caution set things up for Logano to be out front. Harvick was on his tale with Dale Jr in hot pursuit but Gordon spun as they came through the white flag and NASCAR called the race. I HATE when a race ends under caution.

Top 15 Finishers - Logano - Harvick - Dale Jr - Hamlin - Johnson - Mears - Bowyer - Truex Jr - Kahne - Biffle - Gilliland - Hornish Jr - Annett - A Dillon - Almirola

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY PREVIEW

Atlanta has made the announcement that they will add a tire barrier along the inside wall of turn #4 and the protective wall at the exit of pit road near turn #1 will be extended. Other NASCAR tracks like Dega are also making safer barrier improvements after what happened to Kyle Busch last week. I'm glad to see it. These guys risk their lives for my entertainment. I want to see them walk away.

That being said I'm not too happy with what they call qualifying now. The group thing is BS. Not very transparent to me. Very open to, I don't know,  to maybe cheating? Show me that guy was the best. I want to see the stop watch. 

There were 13 cars that didn't even get out to qualify due to inspection failure. NASCAR says it's the teams fault for stretching their adjustments to the limit. They're just there to make sure the cars are within speck.

Gordon was one of those that had to use his past champions provisional to get in because his car failed. The line at tech inspection was so long that Stewart, Johnson and Kenseth failed to get out there too. They have past champions provisionals they can use. Regan Smith, Jeb Burton, Cole Whitt, Alex Bowman and Landon Cassill got in on 2014 owners points. There were 4 others that didn't get out to even try to qualify as well.

Both Gordon and Kenseth were embarassed and grateful for their provisionals but were sorry for those that don't have them. Gordon thinks there's an issue with the process if that many cars are unable to get inspected and out to qualify. I tend to agree with him.

France is working so hard towards the SHOW and not the RACING that he's forgotten about what IS racing. FUCK THE NOT SO INTERESTED CASUAL FAN TOO BUSY HANGING ON HIS SMART PHONE TO EVEN WATCH!!!! WHAT ABOUT ME!!!!?????!!!??? I ACTUALLY WATCH THE RACES!!!!

TOP 15 QUALIFYERS

Logano - Harvick - McMurray - Hamlin - Edwards - Larson - Newman - hornish Jr - Dale Jr - Kahne - Allmendinger - keselowski - Menard - Truex Jr - Dillon

Last year this race was near the fall or in the fall. I forget but I do know Kasey Kahne won it.

LOGANO - Has the pole and a Daytona 500 trophy. So he's hot right out of the gate. Last year at this race he was 14th. I'll say Top 10.

HARVICK - 2nd place last week and a 2nd place in qualifying this week but he'll go to the back to start the race due to an engine change. Says it's easy to pass here. Top 10.

KENSETH - Got caught up in Stewarts oopsy last week. Caught up in the qualifying/failed inspection crap this week. Starts from the back but I can see a Top 10.

JOHNSON - Coming off a 5th place finish. He'll start from the back due to that nasty issue but I see a Top 10.

HAMLIN - Coming off a 4th place start. Did he shake that gremlin off his spoiler from last year? He was 3rd here last year and he starts 4th today. I say Top 10.

EDWARDS - Starts 5th today. Not so good start at Daytona. Can he repeat a 5th place finish like last year. Maybe. Top 10.

LARSON - Last years rookie with the mostest. He was fast this week in practice. Had an 8th here last year. I got to give it to him. Top 10.

McMURRAY - Larson's team mate. He was fast in practice too. This is not his track but I'll give him a Top 15.

NEWMAN - A 7th place here last year and he's just bull in a china closet tough. Top 10.

DALE JR - Coming off a 3rd at Daytona. Starts 9th today. Bodes well for a Top 10.

THE DANICA - She actually had a 6th place finish here last year. She starts 18th. Dare I say it? Can I say it? Nope. Top 15.

GORDON - A late race wreck made him last car on the lead lap in 33rd place last week. BOOOOOOOO!!!! He's on his farewell tour. And now he didn't qualify so he starts from the back with a champions provisional. Top 10.

Looking to round out your salary cap fantasy league with some cheaper drivers? David Ragan is $9 and driving the #18 for 9 races. Regan Smith is $7.50 and in the #41 for when ever NASCAR lets Kurt back in. Brett Moffitt is $6 and he's driving the #55 this week. Allgaier is $10, Mears is $13 Gilliland is $9.50. Good luck.

                 

So I having some pressing issues to take care of. You know, race stuff, breakfast, feed the cats, look to see if it snowed, and generally just hang out. It's Sunday. Lets do this thing.

PS. Thanks for getting it done Sully. Way 2 go....

And I'm outta here....

 

 

 

 

QOTD - 2/28/15 Tags: MLB

MLB:  Josh Hamilton ALLEGEDLY had a relapse.  But here's the thing - I was under the impression that stuff like this was supposed to be kept confidential.  How is it that before he even sits down w/MLB word gets leaked out?  Somebody in MLB and/or the Union has some esplainin to do...

A Sign of the Times 2/28
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Racism Jackie Robinson Negro League Athletes

To the Beat of a Different Drum 2/28/15

You never really think about things until you have an illness and you have that time to think about what’s going on in your life……

Sports is a surreal thing, where athletes are paid a lot more than what they were paid during Jackie Robinson’s days. The African-American ball player was frowned upon in the early stages of America’s game. It was thought to be a white man’s sport due to the ignorance of others. The first African-American actually played in 1904, but didn’t remain there long. It was 41 years later when Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson that another African-American was allowed to play…..

It shows the ignorance of our times, when we judge another man by the color of their skin, instead of their ability to play the sport of their choice. I have heard that I couldn’t play basketball because I was white, well it was true, couldn’t jump a lick growing up. I have also heard that basketball is a black man’s sport, funny thing is that Bob Cousy was white and considered one of the game’s all-time greats.

My daughter is being judged by her peers as being dumb, why because she would prefer to be anywhere else other than the school she currently attends.

I am being judged by that same school as a parent who doesn’t care, which is far from the truth. I want Taylor to have the same things I have when she grows up, so once again the person who judges is wrong…..

Color of skin shouldn’t matter in anything that we do. We shouldn’t be judged in that fashion anyway, but some people do.

Recently I made some changes in my life, took a couple hours of my time last Sunday and actually attended the church I grew up in. The problem is, apparently they still judge you for your past at that church, so I probably won’t go back. Nobody’s fault in particular, just can’t stand two-faced people and those in particular that talk to you behind your back……

Jackie Robinson was always judged by his peers, some for whom he played with, some of the Brooklyn Dodgers asked to be traded if Rickey allowed Jackie to play. Old South racism was real prevalent back during Jackie’s playing days, sleeping in separate hotels, riding in segregated buses, not being able to drink from the same water fountain, and even eat in the same restaurant with his teammates.

Our society is basically heading towards segregation again, which should have Dr. King rolling over in his grave. Some caused by the actions of our political leaders, some caused by blind Americans who still think blacks should be slaves and not enjoy the freedoms that they enjoy today. They feel that black athletes shouldn’t be able to live out their dreams, as for it will give them a sense of power, and God forgive they have any of that…….

Truthfully I don’t care if what I write offends, because I have always been told to write what I feel. I don’t care about the amount of responses I receive. The point of my blog is to open up some eyes concerning the problems our country has at the moment, and their the road we are heading down….

Sports is an irrelavent subject when racism is involved, we can talk about sports and the ignorance of the society we grew up in or we can stop the ignorance by removing the stereotypes that exist in our world today. 

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