And, in conclusion, the end (at least around here)
Posted on March 1st, 2009 at 8:55 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
Well, like I always said, if the Eagles let Brian Dawkins go, I’m quitting the blog.
(I never actually said this. Timing couldn’t have been worse, though.)
So this was the big news to which I alluded earlier this month: BountyBowl will be schlepping its schtick over to IgglesBlog. After a fun couple years (really, 20 months), BountyBowl is over.
The decision to shutter BountyBowl had been in the works for a while — I’d say I knew by November that the site would be retiring after the season. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be writing past the end of December, but I got lucky (depending on your perspective) when the Eagles snuck into the playoffs and made a go of it. As much as I was disappointed when the Eagles lost the NFC Championship, I was selfishly thrilled that I got to end the blog with a memorable January for the Birds (and not a second straight year out of the playoffs).
I’m going to miss doing BountyBowl. It’s been a treat for me to translate my (admittedly extreme/ exaggerated) interest in the Eagles into something semi-creative. The rationale for all this has always been that if I’m going to talk about the Eagles all the time anyway, I may as well capture all that extra energy and do something productive with it. So I fired up the web site and voila, soon I was harnessing the power of the InterWebs to unleash my boorishness on a grand scale!
As much as I’ve enjoyed doing BountyBowl, by this past fall, the challenges of maintaining the site and keeping up a daily rhythm of posting were just getting a bit heavy. While I thought I had something moderately original to say about the Eagles and their place in the imagination of the Philadelphia fans, it turns out that I didn’t have that much to say, certainly not nearly enough to justify daily updates, and definitely not enough to sustain more than two seasons of coverage. In the end, I guess there’s only so many times that one can make jokes about Donovan McNabb’s press conferences.
(By the way, for all the jokes that I make at the expense of the local blathertariat, after trying to manufacture daily content on BountyBowl during the season, I have tons of admiration for the local beat writers. The demand for new Eagles content in Philly is pretty significant, and the team isn’t always cooperative with the press corps, and yet these folks need to churn out fresh content every morning. I won’t say I take it all back, but, well, I’ll say that I at least very much respect the work they do.)
I’m psyched to join the team at IgglesBlog, and by “team” I mean “Derek.” If you’ve been here before, you know that I’ve long been a fan of Derek and all the good work he does at IgglesBlog. What’s exciting about IgglesBlog isn’t just the content that Derek is generating, but also all the great stuff that comes out of the comments. It’s a great community of Eagles fans, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. It’s going to be fun. I expect I won’t be writing as frequently, but plan to at least stay in the general mix, as well as bring some of my gear — the del.icio.us feeds, some other stuff — to IgglesBlog. We’ll figure all that out over the next couple months.
For those folks who bothered to stop by to read or leave a comment, thank you. I remain flattered and humbled that you took the time to visit and give us a looksie.
It’s been a pleasure, and I hope you come and join us at IgglesBlog.
IgglesBlog to Acquire BountyBowl
Posted on February 27th, 2009 at 6:00 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
Combined offering to create leading independent voice of Eagles-themed commentary, homecooked stats, snarky jokes about Philly media
PHILADELPHIA, Penna. — February 27, 2009 — IgglesBlog today announced it will acquire BountyBowl for $2.43 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.43.
“The Eagles blogging business is evolving at an incredible pace, moving increasingly toward highly specialized and niche offerings, and readers are looking for hard-core football analysis as well as cheap jokes at the expense of beleaguered local sportswriters,” said Derek, chief executive officer of IgglesBlog. “We recognize today’s announcement comes at a difficult time for the media industry as a whole, but we see tremendous synergies through this acquisition, mainly resulting from the fact that we used to have just me writing the stories. Now we’ll have someone else doing it sometimes too. That’ll be nice. I guess.”
The acquisition enables IgglesBlog to strengthen relationships with the seven readers of BountyBowl who don’t also read IgglesBlog. These incremental seven readers — mostly friends and family of BountyBowl — are essential to the future growth and development of IgglesBlog, especially as IgglesBlog seeks to target advertising to the coveted related-to-BountyBowl demographic. The acquisition also provides IgglesBlog with a broader and richer base of content, including both Eagles-related articles and photos of food.
Founded in 2007, BountyBowl is the leading provider of Donovan McNabb misspellings and snarky potshots at local Philly sports beat writers. BountyBowl has never quite gotten over the Eagles teams of BountyBowl CEO Gabe’s youth, which, despite the fact that they never actually won anything, did a great job of injuring the opposition. Said CEO also likes justifying his aberrant behavior during Eagles games by referring frequently to his “sports feelings,” which he considers to be valid emotions and which he believes legitimizes “shouting at the television.”
“BountyBowl’s mission has been to leverage the power of the Internet to call otherwise honest and hardworking journalists names and make snide remarks about Andy Reid’s wardrobe,” said Gabe. “IgglesBlog has been a pioneer in independent Eagles journalism, offering data-driven analysis as well as passionate support of the team, and we look forward to combining forces and bringing the value of our combined assets to bear for the benefit of Eagles fans, or at least the hard cases that are as addicted to this nonsense as we are.”
“Combining the talented people and resources of these two companies will make IggleBlog at least 8 percent more interesting, mostly on days that I have other sh*t to do,” said Derek. “Despite the fact that I’ve never actually met Gabe or spoken to him on the phone, we believe that joining the capabilities of these two organizations is an important step toward our goal of becoming an industry-leading source of Eagles commentary. Plus, I totally have a kid now and there are going to be days where I can’t get away with churning out 2,500 words on how Chris Gocong is doing in pass coverage.”
The deal is expected to be completed in the “next couple days,” pending regulatory and shareholder approvals. The acquisition is not expected to have a significant impact on the financial guidance previously issued by the Company.
BountyBowl, which has approximately 1 employee, will continue to operate from its New York headquarters as part of IgglesBlog’s New York operations.
BountyBowl was this blog that this dude made because he really really liked the Eagles and probably always secretly wanted to be a sportswriter. You may have stopped by once or twice on Derek’s generous recommendation, but we wouldn’t be shocked if you never bothered. BountyBowl’s address is www.bountybowl.com.
IgglesBlog is the leading independent source of Eagles commentary on the Internet, and was named one of the top nerdy football blogs by Football Outsiders, which is itself a nerdy football blog. It’s pretty solid.
Season in Review: Top Five Eagles games of the 2008 season (now with extra hindsight bias)
Posted on February 7th, 2009 at 5:30 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
As part of the post-season post-mortem, I’m treating myself to a review of the happy moments from this past season. I offer you my five favorite games, which I will argue were the “best” Eagles games of the season. “Best” is pretty loosely defined here, but the criteria in play are (a) quality of opponent/ victory, (b) potential for persisting in our memory beyond the next couple months, including signature plays or moments, and (c) how I enjoyed that particular game. Essentially, I’m trying to figure out which five games I’ll remember a few years from now. Note that I’ve left myself some wiggle room with criterion (c) — where and how I watched the game will actually matter here.
For those of you still convinced this wasn’t a cool season, rest assured that this was actually a challenging list to assemble. I seriously sweated some of these calls. Yeah. No kidding. Note also that the playoff games don’t automatically earn a spot on the list (though it’s hard to exclude them).
And now, in descending order…
(5) Eagles 26, Vikings 14 @Minnesota, January 4, 2009. This edges out the honorable mentions by virtue of being a playoff game and having two signature plays: (a) the Brian Westbrook screen-pass TD and (b) the Asante Samuel pick-six, which included Chris Clemons flattening Tavaris Jackson. The Westbrook TD will livve in my memory as a companion piece to the long screen-pass TD against the Redskins last season. It’s also worth noting that, um, well, maybe there won’t be a ton of awesome Brian Westbrook plays in the future. What I’ll remember about watching this game is that it felt like the Eagles were losing throughout most of the first half (even though they were winning). What I’ll probably forget is how a bad snap made the ending of this game a lot less stressful than it could have been.
(4) Eagles 20, Giants 14 @ The Meadowlands, December 7, 2008. I would argue that this was the game that turned the season for the Eagles — more so than the win against the Cardinals. Sure, the Giants were reeling a bit from the Plax news, and the Birds had a couple extra days of rest, but this was the game that showed us how they’d make their run: tough defense and an efficient offense led by a pissed-off Donovan McNabb. It didn’t hurt that Antonio Pierce was personally responsible for the Eagles’ two touchdowns, the second of which will be remembered as signature play (the dump-off pass where Westbrook just ran away from Pierce). It also didn’t hurt that I had great seats and ended up on TV. At the time, I expected that this would be the highlight of the season.
(3) Eagles 23, Giants 11 @ The Meadowlands, January 11, 2009. An abusive effort from the Eagles’ defense that included two (2) fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter. We knew the Giants weren’t the same team they were in early November, but they still had a week off and home-field advantage: and the Birds still roughed them up. In addition to the fourth-down plays, we’ll also remember the Asante Samuel pick and Donovan McNabb’s phone call (though we didn’t actually see that). We had great seats (at the goal line, nine rows up) and the Birds scored both their TDs right in front of us. And we’ll fondly remember joining the crowd of Birds’ fans above the tunnel after the game. And then we went to Disney World (!).
(2) Eagles 44, Cowboys 6 @ Lincoln Financial Field, December 28, 2008. Eagles porn! Not since the playoff win against the Lions in the mid-nineties had a game just completely gone this improbably well for the Birds. That it happened against the Cowboys with a playoff spot on the line in the final game of the season, in a game that wouldn’t have mattered had a 13.5-point favorite lost at home in the one-o’clock slot…well, I mean, I guess that’s why we call it Eagles porn. Things you probably don’t remember about this game include the fact that McNabb only threw for 175 yards (though he accounted for 3 TDs). Things you’ll remember for a long time include Chris Clemons dropping the stiff arm on Tashard choice, Brian Dawkins ripping the ball out of Marion Barber’s hands, and the part where Tony Romo apparently collapsed in the locker room. Note that as of today (February 7, 2009), it appears that the Cowboys have yet to recover from this loss.
(1) Eagles 15, Steelers 6 @Lincoln Financial Field, September 21, 2008. Would this — a September game against an AFC opponent — have been number 1 if the Steelers hadn’t won the Super Bowl? No. But it would have been no lower than number 3. This game was the sneak preview of the Eagles defense that would emerge in December. Watching the game again is as Eagles porn-y as the Cowboys game, and maybe even more so: the Eagles’ pass rush looked like something out of the early 90s. From the NFL.com game report:
The Eagles recorded nine sacks and a safety and had at least twice that many knock-downs. And those numbers don’t count the four times Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger barely escaped sacks and was credited with 6 total rushing yards. If Roethlisberger was less elusive, the Eagles very easily could have tallied 15 sacks or more.
Remember also that the Eagles didn’t have much on offense that day: Westbrook got hurt early, Kevin Curtis wasn’t back yet, and the Steelers can also play some defense. But the Birds got it done, most because Pittsburgh could not keep their quarterback upright. The signature play of the game — and maybe the season — is undoubtedly the Brian Dawkins superhero strip-and-recovery with 3:39 left in the game in which Dawkins appears to violate the laws of Newtonian physics (feel free to treat yourself to another viewing). If this game gets mysteriously erased from my DVR, couples therapy will be in my future.
Honorable mentions: Eagles 48, Cardinals 20, Dallas 41, Eagles 37 (the only loss that had a chance).
Feeling down about the Birds? Get some unicorns!
Posted on February 5th, 2009 at 4:48 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
Bummed about another NFC Championship loss?
Unsure about the quarterback?
Fearful that it’ll never work out for Andy Reid?
Looks like what we all need is a stupid internet trick:
Click away and make some happy in the Internets! (Be sure to treat yourself to multiple clicks.)
In response to this week’s Donovan McNabb non-story, I offer you a quiz
Posted on February 5th, 2009 at 12:26 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
Cheers to Derek for admirably tackling the Donovan McNabb non-story yesterday (and if you’re not reading Igglesblog this week, you should be — TONS of great stuff over there, heavy on the charts) — this is yeoman’s work!
In lieu of actually engaging in said conversation, I’m going to offer an observation and a link. The observation is that our attraction to Donovan McNabb is no longer a sports attraction, it’s a celebrity attraction. It’s not Elton Brand, it’s Britney Spears. That is, we’re just following drama at this point, not sports. And for a page-view hungry Philly.com, well, this is just a bear on a bike for them.
If we (or the local media) were really interested in local sports this week, they’d have plenty to talk about: two showdowns with top-of-the-table Boston teams (both close losses — yes, I’m counting the Flyers as a close loss), and the realization that maybe Elton Brand is stealing from the Sixers. But no, we get some hearsay from Jeremiah Trotter and Hugh Douglas, amplified by an all-too-willing cadre of local blathermonkeys. Whatever.
If you’re hung up on Dunavin this week, might I suggest that you click this link and take a little quiz. Consider it a reminder of how bad things could actually be. For the record, I got 11 of 27.
(Who’s going to be the enterprising Iggles fan who will create one of these quizzes for Eagles QBs since Jaws retired. Who? Pointing at nose, staring at ground….)
Special Guest Post: If God & Jesus get the credit, how does Satan escape the blame?
Posted on February 3rd, 2009 at 9:23 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie
A buddy of BountyBowl posted this to his Facebook profile on Super Bowl Sunday, and well, I thought it was too good not to ask him for reprinting rights. We’ll protect the official names of the innocent, but he’s appeared in the comments here on BountyBowl as “Thorles” a couple times, and has occasionally had the misfortune of watching Eagles games with me. Though he’s a Boston guy (and a tasteful Boston fan at that!), he spent the last two years living in a house full of Birds fans whilst in grad school. That is, he knows the drill.
If God & Jesus get the credit, how does Satan escape the blame?
Jesus has never been involved in a missed kick. He has never thrown an interception, fumbled the ball, jumped offsides or dropped a crucial pass. In baseball, he has hit many homers and won titles but has been a strike-out victim not a single time!
One can only assume that the Dark Lord bested Jesus in those particular instances where a player failed rather than succeeded. How refreshing would it be to hear the Prince of Darkness cited in a post-game interview as contributing to a player’s poor showing or a team’s demise? “Yeah, Satan really had it in for me today. On that first pick, the Deceiver of Men gave help to the cornerback as he raced all 78 yards to the end zone. I thought Jesus would come through for us in the 4th quarter but obviously the Devil and his agents were working against us.”
Is Satan pissed that he’s not getting credit? All his hard work to meddle with the fervent if misguided pleadings of the faithful and he gets no press? No mention in a post game interview? Satan is no doubt proud of his deceit and trickery and surely wants acknowledgment of its formidable potency. And what of those athletes who seem to have sold their souls in exchange for otherwordly or an inexplicable run of good luck? As a Pats’ fan I really want to hear Tom Brady explain his deal with the devil. I think he reneged on his end of the bargain and was rewarded with a season-ending knee injury. Though he still has Gisele on his arm…maybe that was the trade-off.
On the “Scripture written in the eye black” angle, how about spicing up the verses? John 3:16 (”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”) and Philippians 4:13 (”I can do all things through him who strengthens me”) are swell and all, but how about some Old Testament Fire and Brimstone shit? Real wrath of God type stuff? “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” (Genesis 19:24, 25). Or going New Testament with anything from Revelations, tales of plagues and serpents and dragons running amok, and seas and rivers turning to fire? How about an approach with more carnal relevance: recent history suggests that many college and professional athletes enjoy the company of women but seem to disdain the limitations of birth control measures: “David took mores wives in Jerusalem, and David became the father of more sons and daughters.” (1 Chronicles 14:3). Most TV announcers, being less than biblical scholars and generally utter morons, would be falling over each other to heap praise on a player for his “devout religions beliefs”, unaware that the scripture in question promotes violence, promiscuity, discrimination or the embrace of mythological creatures.
I’ll concede the requested involvement of a higher authority in praying for safety and health, or the recovery from injury of a downed player. If he doesn’t make it, or ends up paralyzed, can we once again fault the idol-strewn path to the Lake of Fire?
Implicit in the praising of God for on-field success is that God somehow has a vested interest in the outcome of the game (is Jesus making prop bets on Super Bowl XLIII? Parlays? Does JC have a gambling problem?) and is somehow judging certain players more worthy of receiving His help than others. If He helps you throw a touchdown, does that mean your defensive opponents are a motley collection of idolaters, sodomites and followers of false prophets?
Do not the Father, Son and Holy Ghost have more pressing matters clamoring for attention? I suppose we can assume that there is no better multi-tasker than a divine being who can concurrently note the need for a 52 yard FG while saving orphaned children from money grubbing sweatshop owners.
I don’t know. I’m not religious. It just seems offensive to parade one’s faith as some sort of on-field gimmick, a gadget play, a form of “trickeration” (in the parlance of our times). Seems like a “money-changers in the temple” sort of thing. Though I find humor in imagining an omniscient, multi-tasking supreme being reading another prayer or thanks that has made its way into his/her/its Inbox (certainly God uses the Internet), shaking his/her/its head and mumbling about “effing meatheads think I give a damn about some crappy football game.”
Or maybe God never sees these prayers or hears these displays of gratitude? I’d venture that God benefits from celestial junk mail-filtering and spam-detecting technology that terrestrial IT departments can only fantasize about. God is vaguely aware of his name being used or summoned for decidedly earthly matters but has smartly delegated the handling of the prayer deluge to his tech-savvy staff of angels. That’s the analogy. Sports prayers : God :: spam : the rest of us. Praying for a converted 4th and 1 receives about as much attention from a deity as junk mail beckonings for discount Cialis do from we mere mortals.
Yup. Rather than praying for assistance with the outcome of a sporting event, we should all pray for permission to use God’s IT professionals. It will save us from the modern incarnation of Satan’s evil ways: spam.
In a few hours I’ll be watching the Super Bowl, rolling my eyes at on-field salutations to the sky, and smirking at post-game vocal offerings to God. Provided I have not slipped into the delirium of a food coma by that point…or been banished to hell for writing this note. At which point I will cite Beelzebub for my note-writing success.
Super Bowl Pick a.k.a. GO BIRDS
Posted on February 1st, 2009 at 5:13 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
I dunno, I’m just not really sold on the Pittsburgh offense. And I’m rather sold on the Arizona coaching staff, and on that Larry Fitzgerald fellow.
But, to be honest, I haven’t really studied up too much on the game. Too soon. I’m sure you all understand.
We’ll call it Cardinals 27, Steelers 23, and we’ll also note we like the Cardinals to cover the 7 no matter what.
How to host an imaginary Super Bowl party
Posted on February 1st, 2009 at 11:36 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie
You might think that the Eagles’ loss two weeks ago will ruin your final opportunity to watch a legitimate professional football game for next seven months. Au contraire! I mean, I know it seemed like the Eagles lost the NFC Championship and won’t be playing in the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean you have to play along. See below for some simple tips on how to host the Big Game in proper Eagles style….
1. Start early. Put on your gear and get to the store before noon. You don’t want to be one of those last-minute shoppers who’s picking through a decimated chip section or hunting for the last packet of Lil Smokeys. They will run out of Crescent Rolls if you’re not careful. Be sure to be sporting at least your Eagles jersey, and also some sort of hat if possible. Civilians might think you’re wearing those colors just out of general interest in the NFL, but you’ll know better.
2. Don’t be a total homer, but let ‘em know where you stand. Should you run into a fellow patron at the store and have them inquire as to your rooting interests in the Big Game, be polite but firm: “Well I certainly think it’ll be a great game today, and Pittsburgh’s a great team, but I really think the Eagles’ defense and special teams will pull through.”
3. And then, DENY DENY DENY. While some civilians might be satisfied with this answer (as they’re not really sure who’s playing in the game anyway), most men might choose to cross examine at this point. The important part here is not to come on too strong. Acknowledge that the Birds had a tough day in the NFC Championship, and that “they have a few things to work on, but luckily, the extra week should give them time to prepare and correct some of those things.” That’s probably a good moment to cut off that conversation, BTW.
4. Whom to invite? The Super Bowl is one of those events that forces the football devotee to sit in the same room with the dilettante (horrible, horrible, I know) and pretend to enjoy watching the game while the non-psychopaths prattle on and on and on and on about decidedly non-football-related topics (the global economic meltdown, trouble in the Middle East, overweight Jessica Simpson, what have you). While it’s rude to not invite friends and loved ones for a big day like this, it’s worth reminding them “how I get” during Eagles games and how “I can’t really be accountable for my behavior.” Nothing like a thinly veiled threat to keep the flies away!
5. What should guests expect to bring? As a host, you need to take point on the main dishes and proteins, as well as anything that’ll require significant prep (dips, guacamole, stuff like that). Tell guests to bring beer or, of course, a dessert, but only if said dessert is green-themed (icing, ice cream flavors, cupcakes, etc).
6. Pre-game entertainment. Sure, you could watch the interminable network pre-game shows, but is that really going to capture the Philly feel of Super Bowl Sunday? I’d get WIP piping through your stereo as a nice ambient background sound, and then, when folks start to filter in, the coup de grace: Wing Bowl highlights from you computer piped into the TV. That’s just the sort of thing that’ll get your party started right.
7. When 6:30 rolls around. As kickoff approaches, some of your guests may begin to get a bit nervous about this “Super” Bowl thing. They might even make noises about wanting to watch the commercials! That’s the point where you remind them that we won’t be watching commercials today and cue up the DVR for…an encore presentation of the Eagles’ September 21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers! Happy Super Bowl!
(What, you don’t still have the Steelers game on the DVR? You let the missus delete it in favor of Gossip Girl reruns? I’m guarding my copy with my life.)
In re: whether or not the team “cares” more than the fans
Posted on January 30th, 2009 at 11:13 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie
In article dissing Jeffrey Lurie’s comments regarding how bummed Lurie was about the Eagles losing the NFC Championship Game, arguably-”fresh”-but-inarguably-”derivative” local columnist John Gonzalez wrote the following:
The truth is, being part of the Eagles organization is a job for the players and coaches and even the owner - one they get paid handsomely to do. For them, it’s a business. Which is fine. It really is.
But for fans here, sports are something radically different. Rooting for the Eagles (or Phillies or Sixers or Flyers) has nothing to do with money and everything to do with our collective identity. It’s a passion passed down from parents to children before many kids can walk or talk, read or write. Growing up here means you’re part of an exclusive, rabid (sometimes dysfunctional) tribe.
You can’t fake your way into something like that. What Lurie and the players and their advocates too often forget is that the fans were around long before they arrived. And they’ll be here long after Lurie sells the team and decamps. He may own the club on paper, but not in spirit.
Ultimately, Lurie and the Eagles are merely custodians. They couldn’t possibly care as much as the natives. And that’s cool. Frankly, it would be unnerving if they did.
Anyway, someone should tell them to abandon the hard sell. No one’s buying it. [Emphasis mine.]
Well, I’m buying it.
Especially after reading the following:
“He presented with the back pain the week of the Minnesota game,” Burkholder told Daily News and Inquirer reporters in a hastily arranged call from the San Francisco airport, where Burkholder was changing planes for his trip to the Pro Bowl. “We got him an MRI right after the Giants game, and the MRI looked funny. We thought he was going to have a disc problem, because of the symptoms, but it actually looked like there was a tumor beside this stress fracture in his spine. That alerted our doctors that something else might be going on. They did further testing, further scans, had him see some other doctors, and it looks like the melanoma is back, in his back. It’s manifested itself in a tumor in his spine….
“Thursday and Friday, going into the Arizona game, we were suspicious that he needed more testing. He had more testing done on Monday, when we got back, and that’s what proved for sure that it was cancer,” Burkholder said.
Without going into too much detail, those don’t seem like the sort of decisions you make if you don’t care deeply about the team and your job. If anything, I think you could argue that maybe Jim Johnson cared a little too much. I sure as hell would have taken the weekend off, big client meeting — or whatever — be damned (sorry, employer!).
Anyway, I’m sure Eagles fans everywhere will have Johnson and his family in their thoughts. I sure will.
Shout out to Jim Johnson
Posted on January 29th, 2009 at 5:41 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
Scary news indeed.
Best wishes to him and his family.
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