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1967 NFL Championship Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Dallas Cowboys 0 10 0 7 17
Green Bay Packers 7 7 0 7 21
Date December 31, 1967
Stadium Lambeau Field
City Green Bay, WI
Referee Norm Schachter
Attendance 50,861
TV/Radio in the United States
TV Network NFL on CBS CBS
TV Announcers Ray Scott sportscaster Ray Scott, Jack Buck,Frank Gifford,Tom Brookshier
Radio Network NFL on CBS Radio CBS
Radio Announcers Jack Drees, Jim Morse
Timeline
Previous game Next game
1966 1968

The 1967 National Football League Championship Game between the Western Conference champion Green Bay Packers and the Eastern Conference champion Dallas Cowboys was the 35th championship game in NFL history. The game was held at Lambeau Field on December 31, 1967. The winner of the game was destined to meet the champion of the American Football League in the Super Bowl II. Due to the adverse conditions the game was played in and the game's climatic finish, it has been immortalized as the Ice Bowl and is considered one of the NFL Lore greatest games in NFL history.

The 1967 in sports 1967 game was a rematch of the NFL Championship Game, 1966 1966 NFL title game. The Packers had won two consecutive World Championships in 1965 and 1966. The game would pit two future Hall of Fame coaches against each other, Tom Landry for the Cowboys and Vince Lombardi for the Packers.

Route to the NFL ChampionshipEdit

The future hall of fame head coach, Tom Landry, of Dallas had led his team to first place in the National Football League Capitol Division Capitol Division with a 9-5 record. The Green Bay Packers, and future hall of fame head coach Vince Lombardi, won the Central Division with a 9-4-1 record. In the playoffs, the Cowboys met the Century Division champions, the Cleveland Browns, and the Packers faced off against the Los Angeles Rams, the Coastal Division champions. At the Cotton Bowl, in a spectacular game by quarterback Don Meredith, the Cowboys decimated the Browns 52-17.[1] In the week prior to the Rams game, the fire-brand[2] Lombardi inspired his team all week with a rendition of St. Paul's Run to Win letter to the Corinthians[3][4] and ,in what Bart Starr would later say was Lombardi's most rousing pre-game speech,[citation needed] incited his team[5] to a 28-7 victory over the Rams at Milwaukee County Stadium.[6]

BuildupEdit

The 1967 in sports 1967 game was a rematch of the NFL Championship Game, 1966 1966 NFL title game which was held on January 1, 1967.[7] More than two years after football had become the most popular televised sport in the nation,[8] this game featured a match up that all of America hoped for in the NFL Championship.[7] It was the first NFL Championship game that the Green Bay Packers ever participated in that had occurred in Green Bay.[citation needed]

Landry and Lombardi's path crossed in 1954 with the New York Giants when Lombardi became the offensive coordinator and Landry, the left cornerback for the Giants, took on the added role of defensive coordinator.[9] Landry was the best defensive mind of his era and Lombard was the best offensive coach of his era.[10] From a personality standpoint, Landry and Lombardi were the antithesis of each other. Lombardi was a vociferously demanding coach[11] who would respond with the greatest elation to success and tremendous sadness to the slightest setback.[citation needed] Landry was stoic and calm in even the most tense situations.[citation needed]

The Vegas betting line listed the Packers as 6 1/2 point favorites.[12] The Cowboys would employ their vaunted Doomsday Defense, a nickname give to the defensive unit by a Dallas journalist[citation needed] because it had been successful at making goal-line stands.[13] The eight year-old Dallas franchise was trying to win its first ever world championship.[citation needed] The Packers were on a quest to achieve—what had never been done before—three consecutive world championships.[14] To the game, Green Bay brought it's renown Lombard sweep and the Cowboys brought a defensive scheme, The Flex, which was specifically designed by Landry to stop the running to daylight tactic the Packers employed in their sweep.[15] Although the Packers and the Chicago Bears were arch-rivals,[16][17][18][19] Lombardi most passionate game planning was in preparing for Landry's Flex.[20]

Saturday, on the eve of the game, NFL Pete Rozelle called Jim Kensil and Don Weiss, the executive directors of the NFL,[21] for an update on the weather conditions.[6] It is suspected that they informed him that Sunday's game time temperature of about 5°F was playable . Rozelle, who in June 1966 had seen to it that the AFL-NFL Championship game would always been held in a warm weather city,[22] inquired if the game could be postponed until Monday.[citation needed] Predictions held Monday would be even colder than Sunday and the game was not postponed.[6] Little did they know that the cold front would be far colder and would arrive much sooner than expected. The Packers, who had for years eschewed late home season games because of the cold winters,[23] would play host to the Cowboys in a game that would mark the coldest New Year's Eve in the history of Green Bay[24] and the coldest title game in the history of the NFL,[25] a record that still stands.[26] David Maraniss recounts in his 1999 Vince Lombardi autobiography When Pride Still Mattered that Packer safety Willie Wood left his home Sunday morning to find that his car's battery was frozen and dead. When a local service-station attendant was summoned to start the car, Wood told him "It's just too cold to play. They're going to call this game off."[27]

The gameEdit

SettingEdit

WeatherEdit

The game-time temperature was about −15°F / −26°C, with a wind chill around −48°F / −44°C.[28][unreliable source?] Lambeau Field's turf-heating system malfunctioned,[citation needed] which left the playing surface as smooth as ice.[29] The heating system, made by General Electric, cost $80,000 and was bought from the nephew of George Halas, George Halas Jr.[citation needed] On the sidelines before the game, some Dallas players believed that Lombardi had purposely removed power to the heating coils.[30] The heating system would eventually be given the moniker Lombardi's Folly.[citation needed]

The University of Wisconsin–La Crosse then Wisconsin State University–La Crosse Marching Chiefs marching band band were scheduled to perform the pre-game and half-time shows. However, during warm-ups in the brutal cold, the woodwind instruments froze and would not play; the mouthpieces of brass instruments got stuck to the players' lips; and seven members of the band were transported to local hospitals for hypothermia. The band's further performances were canceled for the day.[citation needed]

The officials were unable to use their whistles after the opening kick-off. As referee Norm Schachter blew his metal whistle to signal the start of play, it froze to his lips. As he attempted to free the whistle from his lips, the skin ripped off and his lips began to bleed. The conditions were so hostile that instead of forming a scab, the blood simply froze to his lip. For the rest of the game, the officials used voice commands and calls to end plays and officiate the game. At one point during the game, CBS announcer Frank Gifford said on air, "I'm going to take a bite of my coffee."[31]

The prior convention to prevent the football field from icing up was to cover the field with dozens of tons of hay.[32]

MediaEdit

The game was televised by NFL on CBS CBS, with play by play being done by Ray Scott sportscaster Ray Scott, for the first half,Jack Buck for the second half, and Frank Gifford would do the color commentary for the entire game.[33] Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier did the commentary.[34] Two of the four members of the broadcast team for CBS, Frank Gifford and Pat Summerall, were intimately aware of the personality differences that existed between Landry and Lombardi because they had both played on the New York Giants during Landry's and Lombardi's tenure at the Giants. Over 30 million people would tune in to watch the game.[citation needed]

ActionEdit

The Packers jumped to an early 14-0 lead via two touchdown passes from Bart Starr to Boyd Dowler, but Green Bay committed two costly turnovers in the second quarter that led to 10 Dallas points. First, Starr lost a fumble while being sacked by Cowboys lineman Willie Townes; Dallas defensive end George Andrie recovered the ball and returned it 7 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead in half. Then, with time almost out in the second quarter, Packers safety Willie Wood American football Willie Wood fumbled a Dallas punt after calling for a fair catch, and Cowboys rookie defensive back Phil Clark American football Phil Clark recovered the ball at the Green Bay 17-yard line.The Packers were able to keep Dallas out of the end zone, but kicker Danny Villanueva kicked a 21-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 by halftime.

Neither team was able to score any points in the third quarter, but then on the first play of the final quarter, the Cowboys took a 17-14 lead with running back Dan Reeves' 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance Rentzel on a halfback option play. Later in the quarter, the Packers drove into scoring range and had a chance to tie the game, but kicker Don Chandler missed a 40-yard field goal attempt.

Villanueva punted the ball deep into Packer territory, and Wood returned it nine yards[35] before being brought down at the Packers own 32 yard line.[36]

The DriveEdit

In what could be their last offensive drive, the Packers took over possession with 4:50 left in the game.[37] The wind chill around −70°F / −57°C,[38] (or −50°F / −46°C)[39] Starr led his team down the field with three key completions: a 13-yard pass to Dowler, a 12-yarder to running back Donny Anderson, and a 19-yard throw to fullback Chuck Mercein. Then Mercein ran 8 yards to a first down on the Cowboys' 3-yard line on the next play. Twice Anderson attempted to run the ball into the end zone, but both times he was tackled at the 1-yard line, the second time after his footing failed on the icy field. By then the thermometer read twenty below zero.

The blockEdit

On third-and-goal at the Dallas two-foot line with 16 seconds remaining, Starr called the Packers' final timeout to confer with Lombardi.[40] Starr immediately asked right Guard American football guard Jerry Kramer whether he could get enough traction on the icy turf for a wedge play, and Kramer responded with an unequivocal yes.[41] Summerall told the rest of CBS crew to get ready for a roll-out pass, because without any timeouts remaining a failed run play would end the game. Landry[citation needed] expected a pass attempt because an incompletion would stop the clock and allow the Packers one more play on fourth down, either for a touchdown (to win) or a field goal attempt (to tie and send the game into overtime). But Green Bay's pass protection on the slick field had been seriously tested during the game; the Cowboys had sacked Starr eight times.[42]

On the sidelines, Starr told Lombardi he wanted to run a 31 wedge, but with him keeping the ball, rather than handing off to the fullback. Lombardi told Starr to "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here!" Lombardi was asked by Pat Peppler what play Starr would call, to which Lombardi replied, "Damned if I know."[43] Starr returned to the huddle and called a Brown right 31 Wedge,[44][45] but with him keeping the ball.[46][47][48] and he and center Ken Bowman executed a post-drive block (double-team) on left defensive tackle Jethro Pugh as Starr crossed the goal line for a 20-17 lead.[49]

ConclusionEdit

Don Chandler kicked the extra point to make the score 21-17. Dallas downed the kickoff in their end zone, and after two Dallas incompletions the game was over.[50] At the conclusion of the game, jubilant Packer fans streamed onto the field knocking over Packer and Cowboy players alike.[51]

AftermathEdit

Emotionally, both the Packers[52][52] and Cowboy[citation needed] players were spent. The players physically appeared as they had cheated death.[citation needed] In the Packer locker room, the players openly wept.[52] Kramer told interviewers "Many things have been said about Coach (Lombardi). And he is not always understood by those who quote him. The players understand. This is one beautiful man."[53] Packers Linebacker Ray Nitschke developed frostbite in his feet, causing his toenails to fall off and his toes to turn purple.[54] Bart Starr had frostbite on his fingers and several Packer players were suffering flu like symptoms.[55] Cowboys, George Andrie, Willie Townes, and Dick Daniels also suffered frostbite from the game.[56]

The furthest thing from Starr's mind was the thought of playing in Super Bowl II. To him, this was their Super Bowl.[57] Green Bay went on to finish the postseason by easily[58] defeating the American Football League (AFL) champion Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.[59]

Brookshier and journalists went into the winning locker room for post-game interviews. At some point, journalists had become aware of the significance of the block Kramer and Bowman had placed on Pugh.[60] Of the eleven cameras Ed and Steve Sabol set up to film the game, Camera Five had become frozen by the time Starr's sneak occurred. This particular camera was fortuitously positioned to offer a perfect view of the block.[61] CBS had been replaying the block repeatedly and had been giving the TV audience a detailed perspective of the workings of the offensive and defensive line. Kramer, understanding this, claimed a significant portion of the spotlight for himself; he was more than happy to serve as a prime example of the idea that an unheralded member of "the trenches" was now in the national spotlight.[62] By coincidence, Kramer had been keeping a written diary of the 1967 season that was to be made into a book co-written by sports journalist Dick Schaap; the book, titled Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer, was published in the fall of 1968, and it used the game, the play, and the block as a focal point.

Frank Gifford recounted in his 1993 autobiography The Whole Ten Yards that he requested and received permission from CBS producers to go into the losing locker room for on-air post-game interviews—a practice unheard of in that era. Gifford, as a New York Giants player and as a broadcaster, already enjoyed a friendship with Meredith, and he approached the quarterback for his thoughts on the game. The exhausted Meredith, in an emotion-choked voice, expressed pride in his teammates's play, and said, in a figurative sense, that he felt the Cowboys did not really lose the game because the effort expended was its own reward. Gifford wrote that the interview attracted considerable attention, and that Meredith's forthcoming and introspective responses played a part in his selection for ABC's Monday Night Football telecasts three years later.[63][citation needed] Defensive tackle Bob Lilly took a different view, telling reporters that the Cowboys were a great team except they could not win the "big one." Wide receiver Lance Rentzel later remarked that on the team plane home from Green Bay to Dallas' Love Field Airport, "not one word was spoken the entire flight."

Final statisticsEdit

Scoring
  • GB - Boyd Dowler 8 yard pass from Bart Starr (Don Chandler kick) 7-0 GB
  • GB - Boyd Dowler 46 yard pass from Bart Starr (Don Chandler kick) 14-0 GB
  • DAL - George Andrie 7 yard fumble return (Danny Villanueva kick) 14-7 GB
  • DAL - FG Danny Villanueva 21 yards 14-10 GB
  • DAL - Lance Rentzel 50 yard pass from Dan Reeves (Danny Villanueva kick) 17-14 DAL
  • GB - Bart Starr 1 yard run (Don Chandler kick) 21-17 GB

Source:The NFL's Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, (1973), p. 121, Macmillan Publishing Co. New York, NY, LCCN 73-3862

Statistical comparisonEdit

Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers
First downs1118
First downs rushing45
First downs passing610
First downs penalty13
Total yards192195
Passing yards100115
Passing – Completions-attempts11-2614-24
Passing – Yards per attempt3.84.8
Interceptions-return yards0-01-15
Rushing yards9280
Rushing attempts3332
Yards per rush2.82.5
Penalties-yards7-582-10
Fumbles-lost3-13-2
Punts-Average8-39.18-28.8

Individual leadersEdit

Cowboys Passing
C/ATT Yds TD INT
Don Meredith 10/25 59 0 1
Dan Reeves 1/1 53 1 0
Cowboys Rushing
Car Yds TD
Don Perkins 17 51 0
Reeves 13 42 0
Meredith 1 9 0
Cowboys Receiving
Rec Yds TD
Bob Hayes 3 16 0
Reeves 3 11 0
Lance Rentzel 2 61 1
Clarke 2 24 0
Packers Passing
C/ATT Yds TD INT
Bart Starr 14/24 191 2 0
Packers Rushing
Car Yds TD
Donny Anderson 18 35 0
Chuck Mercein 6 20 0
Travis Williams 4 13 0
Wilson 3 11 0
Starr 1 1 1
Packers Receiving
Rec Yds TD
Boyd Dowler 4 77 2
Anderson 4 44 0
Carroll Dale 3 44 0
Mercein 2 22 0
Williams 1 4 0


LegacyEdit

The game was the end of an era and the beginning of another.[56] This would be the last year the NFL championship game was considered more important than the Super Bowl,[citation needed] for in the following year Joe Namath and the New York Jets staged an upset victory over the Baltimore Colts that would bring the AFL to full legitimacy and validate[citation needed] the merger of the two leagues that had been agreed upon in 1966[citation needed] and would be consummated in 1970.[64] Landry, not alone, believed that football games should never be held in weather conditions so harsh.[65] The NFL did not award an outdoor Super Bowl to a cold-weather city for decades; the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey is scheduled to be the first in 2014.[26]

With Green Bay having won five NFL championships in seven years[66] and the first two Super Bowls, Vince Lombardi retired as head coach of the Packers on February 1, 1968, but retained his position of general manager for the 1968 season.[59] Many Dallas players described this game as the most devastating loss of the 19661970 period.[citation needed] Having lost this game and the 1966 title game in the waning seconds of each game, Landry was subject to criticism that he was unable to win the Big One,[56] a stigma that persisted until Dallas won their first NFL title in the 1971 season.[citation needed] In the three seasons following 1967, the Cowboys suffered two upsets in the playoffs to the Cleveland Browns, then lost Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts 13-16 on a last-second field goal. Schramm considered this game to be turning point to Dallas becoming America's Team because of the way the Cowboys battled back in the game.[67]

If the Packers did not score on the final drive, Lombardi likely would not have become the iconic fixture in football that he is.[68] Landry later remarked that on the "tundra"[69] of Lambeau Field the better team lost,[70] and that it was Lombardi's ability to develop character in his Packers that gave them the ability to never lose hope.[71] Schramm believed that Lombardi's installation of the heating-coils under the playing field showed he was more concerned with sportsmanship than winning.[72] At Lombardi's funeral mass in 1970 in New York, Terence Cardinal Cooke gave the eulogy, based on Lombardi's favorite scripture, St. Paul's Run to Win letter to the Corinthians.[73]

Interviewed by reporters amid the Packers' post-game celebrations, Jerry Kramer's comments about Lombardi were widely quoted later. Intimtating that past press treatments of the coach, including an unflattering 1967 Esquire magazine piece by sportswriter Leonard Schecter were unfair, Kramer said "Many things have been said about Coach. And he is not always understood by those who quote him. The players understand. This is one beautiful man."[74]

The synergy between Gifford and Meredith in the post-game interview prompted Roone Arledge to team Gifford with Meredith and Howard Cosell for the second season of Monday Night Football in 1971.[75] Don Meredith would never win a championship, but he would later become more famous as an announcer for Monday Night Football than he had been as a player.[citation needed] Although Landry and Lombardi were very different, they did respect each other and regarded each other as friends.[76]

At the snap of the ball on the block, Jethro Pugh believed that Kramer had moved early. He never mentioned it for years, because he did not think it fair to make excuses. Pugh's reticence on the uncalled offsides would bring him acclaim him as a man of class.[77] Years later, Dan Reeves, when asked about the quarterback sneak by Starr, said it was a bad call.

A few months later, Lombardi assembled family members, friends and journalists to his home to watch The Greatest Challenge, a highlight film of the game which was produced by Ed Sabol and his son, Steve, and narrated by John Facenda.[78] In the finale of the film, Facenda would say of the Green Bay Packers:

They will be remembered as the faces of victory. They will be remembered for their coach, whose iron discipline was the foundation on which they built a fortress. And most of all, they will be remembered as a group of men who faced the greatest challenge their sport has ever produced—and conquered.
[79]

Future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees involved in the gameEdit

CowboysEdit

PackersEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. St. John, 2000 pg. 147
  2. MacCambridge, 2004-2005 pg. 290
  3. O'Brien, 1987 pg. 300
  4. Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 222
  5. O'Brien, 1987 pg. 301
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Davis, 2008 pg. 347
  7. 7.0 7.1 St. John, 2000 pg. 248
  8. MacCambridge, 2004-2005 pg. 267
  9. St. John, 2000 pg.172, 173
  10. Gruver, 2002 pg. 212
  11. Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 237
  12. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 159
  13. Gruver, 2002 pg.208
  14. Claerbaut, 2004 pg 212-213
  15. MacCambridge, 2004-2005 pg. 291
  16. Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 138-139
  17. Gruver, 1998 pg. 80
  18. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 6, 38
  19. Eisenberg, 2009 pg. 151
  20. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 160
  21. Phillips, 2001 pg. 166
  22. Davis, 2008 pg. 330
  23. Eisenberg, 2009 pg. 192
  24. St. John, 2000 pg. 249
  25. Gruver, 2002 pg. 224
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Owners warm up to New York/New Jersey as Super Bowl XLVIII host". NFL.com. Associated Press. May 25, 2010. http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8184fc83&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
  27. Maraniss, 1999, pg. 411
  28. Davis, 2008 pg. 349
  29. Flynn, 1976 pg. 193
  30. Gruver, 2002 pg. 251
  31. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 420
  32. Gruver, 2002 pg. 21
  33. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 173
  34. No copy of the complete telecast is known to exist. Some excerpts such as the announcers' pre-game comments on the field were saved and are occasionally re-aired in retrospective features. The Cowboys' radio broadcast, with Bill Mercer announcing, and the Packers' radio broadcast, with Ted Moore announcing, still exist.citation required Gruver, 2002 pg.
  35. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 189
  36. Gruver, 2008 pg. 186
  37. Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 226
  38. Gruver, 1998 pg. 254
  39. Gruver, 2002 pg. 210
  40. Gruver, 1998 pg. 203
  41. Gruver, 1998 pg. 202
  42. Gruver, 2008 pg. 253
  43. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 424
  44. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 414
  45. Phillips, 2001 pg. 173
  46. Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 229
  47. Kramer, 2006 pg. 210
  48. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 193-194
  49. Mercein thought he was to take a hand-off from Starr, and once he realized that Starr was running a sneak, he unsuccessfully tried to stop his forward momentum. Mercein raised his hands as he fell onto the pile to show that he did not push Starr into the end zone, which would have resulted in a penalty.(multiple sources) Gruver, 2002 pg. 227
  50. Gruver, 2002, pg. 239
  51. Kramer, 2006 pg. 211
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Gruver, 2002 pg. 256
  53. Marannis, 1999, pg. 427
  54. Gruver, 2002 pg. 259
  55. Gruver, 2002 pg. 258-259
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 St. John, 2000 pg. 151
  57. Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 230
  58. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 199
  59. 59.0 59.1 Claerbaut, 2004 pg. 234
  60. Kramer, 2006 pg.212
  61. Gruver, 2002 pg. 215-216
  62. Years later, Bowman would remark that he was so young then that he did not realize a block like that only happens once in lifetime and he good-naturedly suggested he should have stuck his face in front of the camera too.(Gruver 2002, pg. 227-228) Kramer, 2006 pg.212
  63. Gifford and Waters, 1993, pg. 243
  64. MacCambridge, 2004-2005 pg. 338
  65. St. John, 2000 pg. 149
  66. MacCambridge, 2004-2005 pg. 306
  67. Shropshire, 2004 pg.199
  68. MacCambridge, 2004-2005 pg. 305
  69. "The Old Pro". CNN. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/reader.html?magID=SI&issueDate=19680108&mode=reader_vault. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  70. St. John, 2000 pg. 150
  71. O'Brien, 1987 pg.307-308
  72. Shropshire, 1997 pg. 163
  73. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 499
  74. Maraniss, 1999 pg.427
  75. Davis, 2008 pg. 354
  76. St. John, 2000 pg. 179
  77. Gruver, 2002 pg. 225-226
  78. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 330, 428
  79. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 428

SourcesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Cameron, Steve. (1993). The Packers!. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing. ISBN 0-87833-048-8ISBN
  • Gifford, Frank and Richmond, Peter (2008), The Glory Game:How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever. New York:Harper Collins eISBN ISBN 978-0-06-171659-1
  • Summerall, Pat and Levin, Michael (2010), Giants:What I learned about life from Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley and Sons, Inc., (eISBN 978-0-470-90908-9)

External linksEdit

Preceded by
1966 NFL Championship Game
NFL Championship Game
1967
Succeeded by
1968 NFL Championship Game
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