National Football League

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leftover pie said:
movingtarget said:
I can imagine there will be huge resistance to these changes, mostly from people who are no longer actually playing the game and aren't in any danger of developing long term brain injuries.

speaking as a parent there is no way I'd let my son or daughter play the game (over here in aus we have junior leagues but I am suspect of there being adequate checks in place limiting the amount of contact at training and during games, plus you have younger kids playing with older kids, a recipe for a great mis-match in sizes between players) - plus I want my son to play aussie rules :D

I think kids could get just as much out of a game that doesn't involve violent collisions, they can still learn about teamwork, following a plan, camaraderie, all the good things that you can get out of sport, no need for them to get their bell rung.
Aussie Rules. Now that's a great game. I don't know where to get it here, but saw it a few times on business trips and got hooked straight away.

Actually, resistance to change is likely to come from the non-player folks making the most money, and fans who just like things the way they are. But players who are no longer playing? Some of them are afraid not knowing what to expect as they get older. And as you can see from my previous post a few moments ago, young players in their early-mid 20's like Tyler Sash are getting CTE. Mel Farr's son (in the ESPN video link above) expresses the same fear. And many of those players now have young sons who are just starting to play the game. Mike Farr saw his dad go through some bad times with CTE, he wonders if he has CTE that will manifest itself later in life, and now he's got a son who might play. I think he cares about how the game is played and can be changed to improve player safety. I'm guessing there are many, many more players with the same amount of concern. The NFL just needs to include them in the change process, and ask them for input on how they think the game could be changed. And somebody needs to give Roger Goodell a swift kick in the a$$ to start that process (if he hasn't already started).
 
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on3m@n@rmy said:
Actually, resistance to change is likely to come from the non-player folks making the most money, and fans who just like things the way they are. .
I guess this is more what I meant, those who aren't in danger, the fans, the ones making the money, these will be the people decrying that the game is being softened.

I can imagine the current players are in an awkward position, the league should be looking at issues like concussion & on-going use of painkillers and all that sort of thing and making real changes, the league should without question be looking after players' welfare on issues such as those, meanwhile the players with the increasing amount of information out there have to put themselves on the line while it all happens incrementally in the background.

It must really worry them.

on3m@n@rmy said:
And somebody needs to give Roger Goodell a swift kick in the a$$ to start that process (if he hasn't already started).
Roger is just doing what the owners want him to do, be the "face" of the NFL while they rake in the cash.

He'll end up as the scapegoat for CTE all while the owners sit back and enjoy their profits.
 
Re: Re:

on3m@n@rmy said:
movingtarget said:
on3m@n@rmy said:
movingtarget said:
Understandably, youth football participation has diminished. And let's face it, the way the game of football is played has GOT to change. If it does not, the most important negative thing is players will continue to get CTE. And Roger Goodell better be paying attention because diminished youth turnout could mean that in 20 years the NFL simply collapses as lack of new young players also diminishes. But because Roger is so stupid and arrogant he probably has not thought of that after affect. Roger has got to go now (but that's a rabbit trail to avoid for me for now). So, back to the point. Good for the USA Football organization and those making changes already at the youth level.

As youth football changes are being prepared, the need for change is punctuated by the recent finding (Jan 2017) that former NFL running back Mel Farr died at age 70 in August 2015 from a massive heart attack due to undiagnosed high blood pressure. But he began suffering from CTE symptoms as early as age 60, according to his daughter. After his death, his brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University School of Medicine, and it was discovered he had stage 3 CTE (stage 4 is what Mike Webster and Junior Seau had). Here are a couple links on the rest of his story (the cause of death in the two reports are conflicting, the ESPN interview with daughter and son are worth a listen):
http://www.autonews.com/article/20170131/OEM02/170139950/mel-farr-died-from-concussion-related-disease-seen-in-former-nfl
http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/18585718/former-detroit-lions-rb-mel-farr-had-stage-3-cte-died-2015

Finally, there is now way in H3LL kids need to start playing tackle football at age 4 under the old style of play. Yeah, they're not as big, not as strong, not as fast, and forces of impact are not as great. But the way it has traditionally been played, CHRONIC forces are just as worrisome, especially for young developing brains. So hats off to U.S.A. Football (national governing body for amateur football), but that is just a starting point. More will need to change at the adult level.
It might be just a matter of time for kick and punt returns in the NFL which will take some of the excitement from the game for sure but it will lessen high impact injuries. The only other thing they could do would be to reduce the amount of defenders left on the field which would increase the chances of a TD but still not mean they may not be hit hard if they are tackled. There are plenty of rule changes they could consider and a sport like Rugby League has had many changes over the years. To remove all kick returns from the game I think will definitely make it less of a spectacle but it could happen especially if the NFL gets embroiled in lawsuits and compensation which is going to happen anyway to a certain extent. If they do that they may have to make changes to the passing game as well to make it a bit more open. Too much defense won't be healthy for the players either. Kick returns do play a part in concussion injuries and broken legs from time to time but often the really bad career threatening leg injuries are simple things just from falling awkwardly or being twisted in a tackle or someone falling onto a players leg and I don't think there is a lot that can be done about that.
Whatever the NFL can do to minimize the high impact hits on kickoffs and returns would be a help. Or to reduce the high impact hits by skill position players (WRs, RBs, and those doing the tackling), which is an area that has improved at all levels (youth, HS, NCAA and NFL) by teaching better tackling techniques.

But there will need to be more focus on changes that affect the linemen who take chronic hits every play. The list of former offensive or defensive linemen who have been CTE-confirmed post-mortem: Mike Webster, Justin Strzelczyk, Bubba Smith, Forrest Blue, Lou Creekmur, Shane Dronett, Terry Long, Tom McHale, Ralph Wenzel.

Of course, there have been quite a few more skill players who have been CTE-confirmed post-mortem. They are all sad cases, but one that strikes me is Tyler Sash, who was a 6th round pick in 2011 and who just played two years in the NFL (2011-2012). Tyler died in September of 2015 from drug toxicity, but testing performed on his brain confirmed he was suffering from Stage 2 CTE.
I also think helmet needs to be looked at. They seem to come off too easily for a start. I am not sure how heavy they are but I'm sure they could be improved.
 
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movingtarget said:
I also think helmet needs to be looked at. They seem to come off too easily for a start. I am not sure how heavy they are but I'm sure they could be improved.
Agree. Work in that area to minimize effects of impact is not complete. Take a look at the Vicis helmet by a startup company with innovative crumpling helmet design. Seahawks Doug Baldwin said last summer he would be wearing the Vicis this season. I have not heard how that went. University of Washington & Oregon teams were also going to wear the helmets in 2016. But being a startup company, the helmets were not without issue. Most notably fit and comfort. So the company proactively pulled the helmets to work out comfort issues. But apparently only a few players complained about comfort, but enough to pull the helmets. Thing is, helmet comfort is highly individualistic, just like different brands or styles of shoes will fit and feel different.
http://www.geekwire.com/2016/uw-uo-football-teams-temporarily-pull-high-tech-vicis-helmets-due-comfort-complaints/

Most of the helmet suppliers have done more to protect the head from impact to the crown and top of helmet, and only what they can on the sides. One of the biggest problems with any of the main suppliers (Riddell, Schutt, Xenith, and Vicis too) is impact to the sides and back of the head. That broad horseshoe area around the back of the head from temple to temple. We often see players hit the back of the head to the carpet (QBs in particular cuz they are not often moving forward under a pass rush) or take a side shot, and if they get up they get up slow and end up with a concussion. Without putting the head in a bubble, I don't know how innovative design can adequately protect those areas of the head. The key word there: ADEQUATELY, which applies to the entire helmet design as well.

So the question to me is, how do we protect players NOW. Innovative helmet designs take time (years). The quickest way to reduce concussions is to change the rules on blocking and tackling. And running style should not be considered so sacred that changes cannot also be made there. Look, what happens when a RB drops his shoulder into a defender? The defender, if not playing upright, drops his shoulder into the RB, often ending in helmet-to-helmet collisions. What if a rule change stops forward progress of the RB when he drops his shoulder? The defender would not need to do the same. Just saying changes like that could be made until helmet design CATCHES UP with the size and speed of the game and the way it is played.
 
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on3m@n@rmy said:
The Tour Down Under has stopped using podium girls. Some riders thought it was about time while others did not agree with it at all. One guy said his wife was a podium girl and that's how he met her ! It was quite funny when Richie Porte got on stage the first time and looked a bit lost, the stage looked bare for start then someone handed him a trophy and walked away. He looked a bit nonplussed as if to say "the podium girls, where have they gone ? "
 
Lame, and pathetic for not paying them worth a damn, that really stinks.

I'm one who feels there is nothing wrong with admiring female beauty, a natural reaction from the male. That simple admiration is not disrespectful in it's own right, taking action against the woman's liberty is, but that's not in question here.

Anyone watch the Pro Bowl skills competition? They had a flag football game of high school players.

A guy I work with thinks Atlanta is going to win in a blowout. 40-6 was his guess.
 
Re:

Alpe d'Huez said:
A guy I work with thinks Atlanta is going to win in a blowout. 40-6 was his guess.
You work? :D

Seriously though. I think the Falcons will win. I don't think they will win in a blowout of that margin. Atlanta has a very fast defense, a lot like Seattle who beat NE in NE when Seattle had a healthy defense. The game in NE was close. Seattle also beat Atlanta in Seattle when Seattle was healthy, but the Falcons had some nicks. An unhealthy Seattle lost in the playoffs to Atlanta by moderate margin (meaning it was not so close... and I'm just winging it off the top of the *** here). So was the Falcons playoff win vs Seattle due to the Falcons being much more improved or due to a weakened Seattle defense? Both I think. But I think a healthy Seattle that day in Atlanta would not have changed the outcome - the Falcons would still have won IMO.

Summing up: blowout win by Atlanta, no; Atlanta wins by about 3 point, yes, maybe 27-24 or 30-27.

The ace up the Patriot's sleeve is Belichick's ability to improvise and come up with new wrinkles not previously seen (either by player featured of play featured). For Atlanta to win though, the Atlanta offense will have to do its thing, which is to use all their weapons, and then defensively get in Brady's face and make him hurry. Brady is great at beating pressure, but if he gets hit he has become more average in some games in the past.
 
Re: Re:

on3m@n@rmy said:
movingtarget said:
I also think helmet needs to be looked at. They seem to come off too easily for a start. I am not sure how heavy they are but I'm sure they could be improved.
Agree. Work in that area to minimize effects of impact is not complete. Take a look at the Vicis helmet by a startup company with innovative crumpling helmet design. Seahawks Doug Baldwin said last summer he would be wearing the Vicis this season. I have not heard how that went. University of Washington & Oregon teams were also going to wear the helmets in 2016. But being a startup company, the helmets were not without issue. Most notably fit and comfort. So the company proactively pulled the helmets to work out comfort issues. But apparently only a few players complained about comfort, but enough to pull the helmets. Thing is, helmet comfort is highly individualistic, just like different brands or styles of shoes will fit and feel different.
http://www.geekwire.com/2016/uw-uo-football-teams-temporarily-pull-high-tech-vicis-helmets-due-comfort-complaints/

Most of the helmet suppliers have done more to protect the head from impact to the crown and top of helmet, and only what they can on the sides. One of the biggest problems with any of the main suppliers (Riddell, Schutt, Xenith, and Vicis too) is impact to the sides and back of the head. That broad horseshoe area around the back of the head from temple to temple. We often see players hit the back of the head to the carpet (QBs in particular cuz they are not often moving forward under a pass rush) or take a side shot, and if they get up they get up slow and end up with a concussion. Without putting the head in a bubble, I don't know how innovative design can adequately protect those areas of the head. The key word there: ADEQUATELY, which applies to the entire helmet design as well.

So the question to me is, how do we protect players NOW. Innovative helmet designs take time (years). The quickest way to reduce concussions is to change the rules on blocking and tackling. And running style should not be considered so sacred that changes cannot also be made there. Look, what happens when a RB drops his shoulder into a defender? The defender, if not playing upright, drops his shoulder into the RB, often ending in helmet-to-helmet collisions. What if a rule change stops forward progress of the RB when he drops his shoulder? The defender would not need to do the same. Just saying changes like that could be made until helmet design CATCHES UP with the size and speed of the game and the way it is played.
I'm probably going to get slammed for this, but what if you removed all the body armour... let's face it, body on body collisions without the fibreglass/metal/carbon fibre/whatever has to result in less damage, as well as players changing the way they tackle - you know, instead of slamming into the other guy while thinking that you're both protected in so much armour.
Someone mentioned rugby league earlier - it still has injuries, but not to the same extent as NFL, and they still tackle hard... Could be too big a change though for players to adapt or change mentality in how they play?
 
Re: Re:

Archibald said:
on3m@n@rmy said:
movingtarget said:
I also think helmet needs to be looked at. They seem to come off too easily for a start. I am not sure how heavy they are but I'm sure they could be improved.
Agree. Work in that area to minimize effects of impact is not complete. Take a look at the Vicis helmet by a startup company with innovative crumpling helmet design. Seahawks Doug Baldwin said last summer he would be wearing the Vicis this season. I have not heard how that went. University of Washington & Oregon teams were also going to wear the helmets in 2016. But being a startup company, the helmets were not without issue. Most notably fit and comfort. So the company proactively pulled the helmets to work out comfort issues. But apparently only a few players complained about comfort, but enough to pull the helmets. Thing is, helmet comfort is highly individualistic, just like different brands or styles of shoes will fit and feel different.
http://www.geekwire.com/2016/uw-uo-football-teams-temporarily-pull-high-tech-vicis-helmets-due-comfort-complaints/

Most of the helmet suppliers have done more to protect the head from impact to the crown and top of helmet, and only what they can on the sides. One of the biggest problems with any of the main suppliers (Riddell, Schutt, Xenith, and Vicis too) is impact to the sides and back of the head. That broad horseshoe area around the back of the head from temple to temple. We often see players hit the back of the head to the carpet (QBs in particular cuz they are not often moving forward under a pass rush) or take a side shot, and if they get up they get up slow and end up with a concussion. Without putting the head in a bubble, I don't know how innovative design can adequately protect those areas of the head. The key word there: ADEQUATELY, which applies to the entire helmet design as well.

So the question to me is, how do we protect players NOW. Innovative helmet designs take time (years). The quickest way to reduce concussions is to change the rules on blocking and tackling. And running style should not be considered so sacred that changes cannot also be made there. Look, what happens when a RB drops his shoulder into a defender? The defender, if not playing upright, drops his shoulder into the RB, often ending in helmet-to-helmet collisions. What if a rule change stops forward progress of the RB when he drops his shoulder? The defender would not need to do the same. Just saying changes like that could be made until helmet design CATCHES UP with the size and speed of the game and the way it is played.
I'm probably going to get slammed for this, but what if you removed all the body armour... let's face it, body on body collisions without the fibreglass/metal/carbon fibre/whatever has to result in less damage, as well as players changing the way they tackle - you know, instead of slamming into the other guy while thinking that you're both protected in so much armour.
Someone mentioned rugby league earlier - it still has injuries, but not to the same extent as NFL, and they still tackle hard... Could be too big a change though for players to adapt or change mentality in how they play?
Actually that has been discussed before and the same argument is sometimes used in amateur boxing where headgear is often ineffective. A good punch will still knock someone down or knock them out even with headgear and doctors say that headgear spreads the impact zone of the punch without absorbing much of the blow. Cycling helmets seemed to be designed differently, they often split and fully absorb the blow without breaking completely but do the job they are designed to do at moderate speeds or low speeds but of course are next to useless in more extreme circumstances as most helmets are. I am sure Rugby League and Union players still suffer from CTE and Parkinson's like boxers it's just that the studies have not been done to the extent the NFL has and compensation has yet to become an issue not to say it won't eventually won't and most players in those football codes have much longer careers and much longer seasons than NFL players. I read an article about soccer a few years and how heading the ball especially the older leather type balls from an early age does cause brain damage in some cases eventually.
 
On the subject of concussions, this is an interesting piece where tackle football may cease to exist "by the late 2020s under the weight of litigation, insurance woes and the dramatic decline in youths taking up the sport."

http://www.si.com/nfl/2016/08/31/future-of-football-nfl-safety-concussions

Interestingly, the article references a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit settlement last year stemming from a Pop Warner league concussion incident. And in the last few years or so, I've talked to some fathers who are not letting their son's play football (who they themselves played H.S. ball), and are instead encouraging them to play another fall sport.
 
Nomad said:
On the subject of concussions, this is an interesting piece where tackle football may cease to exist "by the late 2020s under the weight of litigation, insurance woes and the dramatic decline in youths taking up the sport."

http://www.si.com/nfl/2016/08/31/future-of-football-nfl-safety-concussions

Interestingly, the article references a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit settlement last year stemming from a Pop Warner league concussion incident. And in the last few years or so, I've talked to some fathers who are not letting their son's play football (who they themselves played H.S. ball), and are instead encouraging them to play another fall sport.
Interesting article. Insurance will only get harder and harder and more expensive.
 
Interesting indeed. I'm really surprised pop Warner even exists anymore, and hasn't been replaced with flag football.

As to removing the body armor, or going back to the old, old days of leather helmets, I too question how much it would really help. You may have less full on collisions, but you'd still have a tremendous amount of small bumps banging into each other. There are plenty of scientists who feel that it's not just the concussions, but the hundreds if not thousands of times lineman, RB's, etc. get hit in the head/helmet, even if not dazed, over the course of a career. We could see even more of that with no helmet/leather helmets. I don't know.

Cycling helmets work mostly because they are a one-off. One major crash, and the helmet is designed to break apart to save your life. You then discard and replace it. I don't see that happening with a sport like football.

I think what's ultimately going to happen is three fold. 1). Technology will improve head impacts. I can't see it eliminating concussions, but I can see it helping a lot some day. 2) The game will be more strictly officiated with harder penalties and fines for helmet hits, and rules will change to curb major hits, which is happening already. 3) Players will be educated and adapt over time, which will cut way down on head hits.

Another thing, and this I agree with, is that the NFL is on a slow down slide of popularity. It's not going to vanish, or turn into boxing or track & field, which were once very popular, but now about as popular as tennis. But It's pinnacle was probably 2014. Lesser young people are playing, but the league has tried to over-saturate. There's also excessive greed in the sport, and Mark Cuban, like him or not, was right. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.
 
Re: Re:

Archibald said:
I'm probably going to get slammed for this, but what if you removed all the body armour... let's face it, body on body collisions without the fibreglass/metal/carbon fibre/whatever has to result in less damage, as well as players changing the way they tackle - you know, instead of slamming into the other guy while thinking that you're both protected in so much armour.
Someone mentioned rugby league earlier - it still has injuries, but not to the same extent as NFL, and they still tackle hard... Could be too big a change though for players to adapt or change mentality in how they play?
As you can see already, you have not been slammed yet and don't think you will. :) All of the replies to this are good posts. But sounds like you are a little sensitive there? Maybe having been stung by replies to your posts in other threads? I know the feeling.

Ultimately if the NFL is going to stay with as little evolving as possible, it will be as Alpe says, by 1) technology improvement, 2) changes to rules and officiating, and 3) player adaptation and teaching. I only add to the adaptation part (#3) that adaptation will have to come also from the league staffers starting with Goodell all the way down, particularly from the owners who have a stake in matters, by team's staff who need to ensure that instruction to all of the changes are rolled out in the form of teaching, and by fans who demand it.

Fans you say? What can fans do, right? It has already started to swing. You can see it in the level of participation in the youth levels. You can see it in the Mike Farr interview. I can see it in me and those around me. I used to be one of those fans who'd say something like "tough it out". Now I say be tough, but lets be smarter about this. I have family working as a trainer in college football, and hear what is going on behind the scenes, and believe me many of those people are on the side of player safety. The pendulum has begun to swing from where it was 30 years ago. I know quite a few former college players, one who used to say "I'm going to marry a certain kind of woman for breeding stock so my son can become a great football player". Now that person says he does not want his kid to play football. All of these people are fans too. But because of all the big money in the NFL, it might take 20 or 30 years to evolve to where the game is safe enough. Write the league office. Write the NFLPA. Write your states Athletic Associations.

Former NFL players want to be involved in the changes. Use them. But I don't see the league doing anything, and this is why I hate the league (or those in control) so much. The point is, it is time for the league to get some more traction going on player protections and safety.

Someone posted (paraphrasing), 'maybe the NFL will evaporate to nothing within 20 or 30 years', That might be true. If I was an owner, I'd start seriously considering selling my team while the price is good. And 2014 values for all teams in the league ranged from about $800 million to $2.3 billion. Probably higher now. http://www.thephinsider.com/2014/6/10/5796114/purchase-price-and-current-value-of-each-nfl-franchise I'd start thinking, 'All that NFL revenue is not worth the long term risk. I'll start investing in other things'. I don't see that happening right away.

edit: someone was NOMAD, who said:
tackle football may cease to exist "by the late 2020s under the weight of litigation, insurance woes and the dramatic decline in youths taking up the sport.
Sorry for that as I was getting very passionate at that moment.
 
You may recall when I talked to Brock, he was in favor of every safety measure the NFL was implementing, and this was a couple years ago. He considered himself extremely fortunate that he had very few head injuries in his career, and still had his mental faculties. There is going to be a very short list of players like Jack Lambert or James Harrison who want to "let them play", in just a few short years.

I found it amusing in the Commissioner's press conference, he was almost continually peppered with deflategate questions, and as usual stumbled over many answers. Every day the guy looks more like an empty suit. I once praised him for working through the last CBA, which didn't cost the NFL or players hardly anything. But next CBA, which expires after the 2020 season, is going to run into I think a serious, serious chance of losing games to a lockout and/or strike, call it what you will. The league will probably not meet it's wished for revenue goals at that time, and the players absolutely hate Goodell, and his self-appointed, unchecked dictator like rulings, and the fact the last CBA was written in a way that allowed it.
 
I hope for Stan's sake that is the case. He would be a 58 or 59 year old by now, and Mel Farr's CTE symptoms did not start showing up until he was 60 years old.

That is just another example of Rodger Goodell's arrogance and stupidity.

Right smack on the heels of what we have been talking about the Illinois legislature has proposed a bill to eliminate workers compensation for NFL players over age 35. If the bill passes the NFL players Association will tell free agents not to sign with the Chicago Bears. This could become the NFL's feet of clay.
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2691008-demaurice-smith-will-tell-players-not-to-go-to-bears-if-workers-comp-bill-passes
 
Since I'm not sure I'm going to be able to post tomorrow, my final prediction here is for the Patriots to win, I'm guessing 37-34. I think both teams may score early, then adjust and slow the game down a bit, with a lot of frantic activity as the game progresses, especially the 4th quarter.

Injury reports are in, and both teams have several players trying to heal, but no one is expected to miss the big game. The only possible exception is Falcons pro bowl center Alex Mack, who was hurt for the NFC championship game, but still played there. He's been in light practice, and everyone expects him to play. He has a lower leg injury. Julio Jones still has a toe injury, but is expected to play. He's had the same injury a few weeks now, and plays great anyway.

On the Pats side, both Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan are nursing injuries but expected to start. How limited their play is, remains to be seen.
 
My last post here too. Looks like all of us here are thinking it will be a close game, like a three point spread. Earlier I tipped the Falcons for the win but on one condition, that the Falcons can disrupt Brady. Falcons have defensive speed. But proper scheme beats speed almost any day. And who is an offensive schemer extraordinaire? Belichick. So it will be interesting to see what kind of witches brew Bill will come up with. But it will be a good one. So, that is why I think it is important for Atlanta's pass rush to get at Brady and disrupt New England's offense.

 
This game for me is too tough to call. Prior to the playoffs, I mentioned "Brady + Belichick + home field advantage = AFC Championship." But this is the Super Bowl and anything can, and usually does happen. One thing that is critical for both teams is QB protection. I think the defenses are going to be aggressive with blitz packages - could be some late hits on the QBs. And if either Brady or Ryan were to go down with an injury fairly earlier in the game, then I think it would be over for that team. The backups (Garoppolo & Schaub) better be prepared.

Lets hope the game doesn't turn out to be one-sided boring affair. It's already bad enough with the anticipation of ad nuseam commercials and half-time with Lady GaGa. Lol.
 

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