Super Bowl XXXV
Super Bowl XXXV was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Ravens and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2000 season. The Ravens defeated the Giants by a score of 34–7, tied for the seventh largest Super Bowl margin of victory with Super Bowl XXXVII. The game was played on January 28, 2001, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Ravens, who posted a 12–4 regular season record, became the third wild card team to win the Super Bowl and the second in four years. Also, the city of Baltimore had its first Super Bowl title since the Baltimore Colts' triumph thirty years prior and became the first city to win major professional football championships with four franchises, the others being the Colts (before their move to Indianapolis in 1984), the 1985 Baltimore Stars of the United States Football League and the 1995 Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League. The Giants entered the game seeking to go 3–0 in Super Bowls after also finishing the regular season with a 12–4 record.
Baltimore allowed only 152 yards of offense by New York (the third-lowest total ever in a Super Bowl), recorded 4 sacks, and forced 5 turnovers. All 16 of the Giants' possessions ended with punts or interceptions, with the exception of the last one, which ended when time expired in the game. New York's lone touchdown, a 97-yard kickoff return, was quickly answered by Baltimore on an 84-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff. The Giants became the first team since the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII not to score an offensive touchdown and the fifth overall (joining the Bengals as well as the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX, the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII, and the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, and subsequently the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.) Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, who made 3 solo tackles, 2 assists, and blocked 4 passes, was named Super Bowl MVP.
Counting the 1958 and 1959 NFL Championship Games, this is the fourth title game that involved teams from Baltimore and New York, and the first such matchup since Super Bowl III, in which the Jets upset the heavily favored Colts.
NFL owners awarded Super Bowl XXXV to Tampa during their October 31, 1996, meeting in New Orleans. Tampa became the fourth metropolitan area to host the game at least three times, joining New Orleans, Miami, and Los Angeles. Other cities under consideration at the meeting were Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Owners initially planned on selecting only two hosts (XXXIII and XXXIV), but decided to name three after strong showings by the respective delegations. Tampa was essentially promised a Super Bowl after committing to the construction of a new stadium. Miami, Atlanta, and Tampa were selected to host XXXIII, XXXIV, and XXXV, respectively.
The Ravens entered the game with the second-best defense in allowing yards in the league, with the fewest points allowed (165) and the fewest rushing yards allowed (970) during the regular season. At the time, they were the only team to hold the opposition to under 1,000 yards rushing in a season since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. Baltimore's 165 points allowed broke the record set by the 1985 Chicago Bears, who had given up 187 points. The Ravens' defense had held their opponents to 10 or fewer points in 11 games, including four shutouts.
The defense was led by a trio of outstanding linebackers: Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, and Ray Lewis. During the regular season, Boulware recorded 7 sacks, while Sharper forced 5 fumbles and made one interception. Lewis was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by recording 3 sacks, making 138 tackles, and intercepting 2 passes. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sam Adams and veteran Tony Siragusa anchored the defensive line, along with defensive ends Rob Burnett (10.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries) and Pro Bowler Michael McCrary (6.5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries). Baltimore also had an outstanding corps of defensive backs led by Pro Bowl veteran safety Rod Woodson, who along with Kim Herring, Duane Starks, and Chris McAlister combined for 17 interceptions.
On offense, the Ravens' main strength was rushing, led by rookie Jamal Lewis (1,364 yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 27 receptions, 298 yards) and Priest Holmes (588 yards, 32 receptions, 221 yards). Also, tight end Shannon Sharpe recorded 67 receptions for 810 yards and 5 touchdowns. Receiver Qadry Ismail added 49 receptions for 655 yards and four touchdowns. The offensive line was anchored by tackle Jonathan Ogden, who was named to the Pro Bowl for the 4th consecutive season. On special teams, Jermaine Lewis ranked second in the NFL with 36 punt returns for 578 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching 19 passes for 161 yards and another score. Kicker Matt Stover led the NFL in field goals made (35) and attempted (39), while ranking 7th in field goal percentage (89.7) and second in scoring (135 points).
However, the Baltimore offense was mediocre, ranking only 13th in the league in scoring (333 points), 16th in total yards (5,301), and 23rd in passing yards (3,102). The team had a lot of trouble scoring, and at one point they went through five games without scoring an offensive touchdown (although they managed to win two of those games). But they managed to regroup, as head coach Brian Billick forbade anyone to use the "P-word" (presumably "postseason" or "playoffs") until the team actually played in it. The Ravens' outspoken defensive lineman, Tony Siragusa, did utter the word "playoffs" on two occasions and was fined $500. Since the fine (and Billick's ban) were clearly symbolic and playful, Billick explained himself by saying, "He got a $400 fine for doing it on national television and $100 for doing it on his radio show. The reason being because no one listens to his show anyway." In place of the "P-word", the word "Festivus" was used, the December 23 secular holiday featured in an episode of the popular American television sitcom Seinfeld (the Ravens organization played along with this theme for that year's playoffs by showing a clip of Cosmo Kramer saying "A Festivus miracle!" on the stadium screen during the team's only home playoff game that year). The Super Bowl was thereafter referred to as "Festivus Maximus."
Midway through the season, with the team at 5–3, Billick benched starting quarterback Tony Banks and replaced him with Trent Dilfer. Although his statistics were hardly distinguished (12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 76.6 passer rating), and the team lost in his first game as a starter, Dilfer led them to victory in their last seven regular season games to finish in second place in the AFC Central with a 12–4 record and entered the playoffs as a wild-card team.
New York Giants
The Giants advanced to Super Bowl XXXV after posting a 7–9 record in the previous year. Their big draft acquisition during the off-season was running back Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner. The plan was to have his power running style complement running back Tiki Barber's speed and pass-catching ability. The two would be called the Giants' "Thunder and Lightning" backfield. Although Dayne had a solid rookie year by rushing for 770 yards, the breakout star during the regular season was Barber. Barber had 1,006 rushing yards in 213 attempts, caught 70 passes for 719 yards, and scored 10 touchdowns. He also returned 44 punts for 506 yards and gained 266 yards returning kickoffs, giving him 2,495 total yards.
Kerry Collins entered the season as the Giants' unquestioned starting quarterback. Although he helped lead the Carolina Panthers to the 1996 NFC Championship Game, he endured a mediocre season in 1997. In 1998, he quit part way through the season after the team opened the campaign with a four-game losing streak. After spending the remainder of the 1998 season with the New Orleans Saints, Collins was signed in 1999 as the Giants' second-string quarterback, but soon claimed the starting job. In leading the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV, Collins completed 311 out of 529 passes for 3,610 yards and 22 touchdowns during the regular season. His favorite targets, in addition to Barber, were wide receivers Amani Toomer (78 receptions, 1,094 yards, 7 touchdowns), and Ike Hilliard (55 receptions, 787 yards, 8 touchdowns), along with fullback Greg Comella (36 receptions for 274 yards). The Giants offensive line featured guard Ron Stone, the team's only pro bowl selection from the offense.
The Giants also had a powerful defense, led by Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan, who recorded 9.5 sacks, and defensive tackle Keith Hamilton who recorded 10. Defensive backs Jason Sehorn, Emmanuel McDaniel, Reggie Stephens, and Shaun Williams combined for 14 interceptions. Pro Bowl linebacker Jesse Armstead led the team in total tackles with 102, while also recording 5 sacks and an interception.
But the Giants fell to a 7–4 record midway through the season, and their playoff prospects seemed dim at best. In what would be his defining moment, head coach Jim Fassel, at a press conference following the Giants' loss to the Detroit Lions, guaranteed that his team would make the playoffs. The Giants responded by winning their last five regular season games to reach 12–4 and win the NFC East.
With an explosive defense and a "play-it-safe" offense, the Ravens became the seventh wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl, and third in four seasons, after allowing only a combined one touchdown and three field goals in their playoff wins over the Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans, and the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 20–10, and shut out the Minnesota Vikings, 41–0, the most lopsided game in NFC Championship game history.
Officially, the win made the Ravens the quickest expansion team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, although much like the 1950 Browns winning the NFL Championship in their first season in the NFL after coming over from the All-America Football Conference, the Ravens were not an expansion team in the traditional sense of the term that started out as a completely brand new organization, coaching staff and players from scratch.
The Giants, as the designated home team, wore blue jerseys with grey pants. The team had previously worn blue jerseys with white pants in their two prior Super Bowl victories, but before the 2000 season, they replaced the Big Blue Wrecking Crew-era uniforms with a modern version of their early 1960s set. The Ravens donned all-white uniforms for the game.
The game was broadcast in the United States by CBS (their first since Super Bowl XXVI in January 1992). Play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel became the first African-American announcer to call a major sports championship on network television. He was joined in the broadcast booth by color commentator Phil Simms. Armen Keteyian and Bonnie Bernstein served as sideline reporters. Jim Nantz hosted all the events with help from his then-fellow cast members from The NFL Today: Mike Ditka, Craig James, Randy Cross, and Jerry Glanville. The desk reporting was done aboard the famous Buccaneer Cove pirate ship at the end zone of Raymond James Stadium.
The broadcast featured the brand-new EyeVision instant-replay system, which provided rapid-fire sequential shots from a series of cameras positioned around the top of the stadium. It allowed for bullet time effects, similar to those used in the movie The Matrix. It was extremely unusual for CBS to debut a major new technology system at an event the size of the Super Bowl. The EyeVision system proved its mettle when it helped to uphold a replay challenge on a Jamal Lewis 4th-quarter touchdown. EyeVision was also used during the broadcast of the Super Bowl XXXV halftime show, which was directed by Saturday Night Live director Beth McCarthy-Miller. EyeVision would mostly fall out of use after Super Bowl XXXV, not being used in an NFL game until an upgraded version was announced for Super Bowl 50.
CBS also produced a separate HDTV broadcast of the game in the 1080i format, with Kevin Harlan and Daryl Johnston announcing. It was the second year that the game was televised in both standard-definition TV (NTSC) and HDTV.
As previously mentioned, this was the first Super Bowl to be aired on CBS in nine years (after XXVI). Following the 1993 season, Fox bought the rights to air the NFC package, leaving CBS without the NFL for the next four years until 1998, when they began broadcasting the AFC package, bringing an end to NBC's 33-year stint. (NBC would later outbid ABC for the prime time NFL package in 2006, which resulted in these match-ups moving from Monday to Sunday.)
Along with being the first African-American to be the play-by-play announcer for a Super Bowl, Gumbel also became the third person to both host a Super Bowl pregame show and call the game, joining Dick Enberg and Al Michaels. Gumbel was the host during his first stint with CBS for Super Bowl XXVI, and he was the pregame host for Super Bowls XXX and XXXII when he was with NBC.
Before the game, a pregame show titled "Life's Super in Central Florida" was held, featuring Sting, Styx, and PYT. The show was directed and choreographed by Lesslee Fitzmorris from Covington, Louisiana.
To honor the 225th anniversary of the birth of the United States, singer Ray Charles performed "America the Beautiful". The song was signed (ASL) by Tom Cooney. To honor the 10th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War, 10 military veterans from the conflict including former general Norman Schwarzkopf were introduced on the field. The vocal group (and Florida natives) Backstreet Boys then sang the national anthem becoming the only boyband to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
The coin toss ceremony honored the two previous Super Bowls that were played in Tampa. Representing the New York Giants' win in Super Bowl XXV was the game's MVP, Ottis Anderson, and former head coach Bill Parcells. Representing the Los Angeles Raiders' win in Super Bowl XVIII was that game's MVP, Marcus Allen, and former head coach Tom Flores.
This was the last Super Bowl to have individual player introductions for both teams (both the Ravens' and Giants' defenses were announced). In Super Bowl XXXVI, the New England Patriots bucked this trend and were introduced all at once as a team; the Rams, however, still used individual player introductions in that game. Starting with Super Bowl XXXVII, the league decided to have the both participating teams introduced collectively as a team, instead of introducing them individually by player.
The halftime show was produced by MTV, then a sister network of CBS before the remerger. The show was titled, "The Kings of Rock and Pop". It was headlined by Aerosmith and 'N Sync, and also featured appearances from Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, and Tremors featuring The Earthquake Horns. The show featured a back-and-forth medley between Aerosmith and 'N Sync.
The city of Tampa moved its annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival from its usual date in early February to the Saturday before the game. It was the largest Gasparilla in history, with over 750,000 attending.
Both defenses dominated early in the first quarter as the first five possessions of the game ended in punts. On the fifth punt, Ravens kickoff/punt returner Jermaine Lewis returned the ball 33 yards to the New York 22-yard line. Although a holding penalty on the return moved the ball back to the 41-yard line, Baltimore took only two plays to score on quarterback Trent Dilfer's 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley.
Early in the second quarter, New York advanced to midfield, only to lose the ball when Ray Lewis deflected a pass into the arms of linebacker Jamie Sharper for an interception. Then on the next play, a holding penalty against the Giants nullified linebacker Jessie Armstead's 43-yard interception return for a touchdown that would have tied the game. Later in the period, Dilfer completed a 44-yard pass to receiver Qadry Ismail to set up a 47-yard field goal by Ravens kicker Matt Stover to extend Baltimore's lead, 10–0. With the aid of a 27-yard run from running back Tiki Barber, the Giants advanced all the way to the Ravens' 29-yard line on their ensuing drive, but Baltimore defensive back Chris McAlister intercepted a pass from quarterback Kerry Collins to keep New York scoreless at halftime.
The Giants forced the Ravens to punt on the opening drive of the second half. Five plays later, Ravens safety Kim Herring intercepted Collins at the New York 41-yard line. The Ravens then advanced to the 24-yard line, but the drive stalled and Stover missed a 41-yard field goal attempt.
After an exchange of punts, Ravens defensive back Duane Starks intercepted a pass from Collins and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown, setting off a chain of events unseen before in Super Bowl history: three touchdowns on three consecutive plays in 36 seconds. On the ensuing kickoff, Ron Dixon returned the ball 97 yards for the Giants' first and only score of the game. But Jermaine Lewis returned the next kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, making the score 24–7 for the Ravens. It was the first time in history two kickoffs were returned for touchdowns in the same Super Bowl game, and on back-to-back kickoffs.
The Giants gained only one first down on their final four possessions, and were never able to move the ball into Baltimore territory. Meanwhile, the Ravens added 10 more points to their lead, making the final score 34–7. A few possessions after Jermaine Lewis' touchdown, Giants punter Brad Maynard's 34-yard punt from his own 4 to the 38-yard line and tight end Ben Coates' 17-yard reception set up a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Jamal Lewis early in the fourth quarter. Dixon fumbled the ensuing kickoff to Ravens defender Robert Bailey, setting up Stover's 34-yard field goal with 5:27 left in the game.
Dilfer threw for 153 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. Jamal Lewis rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown (only the second rookie to rush for 100 yards in the Super Bowl, joining Timmy Smith in Super Bowl XXII, while also being the first rookie to score a rushing touchdown in a Super Bowl since Smith in 1988), and caught a pass for 4 yards. Stokley was the top receiver of the game with 3 receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. Jermaine Lewis recorded 152 total all-purpose yards (111 kickoff return yards, 34 punt return yards, 7 receiving yards, 1 rushing yard) and a touchdown.
Collins had a passer rating for the game of only 7.1, the second worst in Super Bowl history, threw four interceptions (tying a Super Bowl record that has since been surpassed by Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon's five INTs in Super Bowl XXXVII) and completed only 15 of 39 passes for 112 yards. Barber was the Giants' leading rusher with 49 yards, also catching 6 passes for 26 yards and returning 2 punts for 13 yards, while Dixon tallied 6 kickoffs for 154 yards and a touchdown with a 16-yard pass catch. While Giants punter Brad Maynard set an undesirable Super Bowl record with 11 punts, Baltimore punter Kyle Richardson had 10 punts, which would have set the record.
Overall, both teams combined for only 396 total yards, the lowest in Super Bowl history. The Ravens joined Super Bowl XVIII's Los Angeles Raiders in the record books as the only teams to score offensive, defensive and special teams touchdowns in the same Super Bowl. The third team to do the same were the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. Super Bowl XXXV was the second Super Bowl since 1975 in which the losing team failed to score at least 10 points, after Super Bowl XVIII.
All the main contributors for the Ravens on offense, defense, and special teams were named Lewis. Linebacker Ray Lewis, a native of Lakeland, Florida, less than an hour from Super Bowl host city Tampa, who made 3 solo tackles, 2 assists, and blocked 4 passes, became the second linebacker to be named Super Bowl MVP after Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V. Lewis also became the first defensive player to be honored since Larry Brown in Super Bowl XXX, and at the time the seventh defensive player to be Super Bowl MVP, joining Howley, Jake Scott, Harvey Martin, Randy White, Richard Dent, and Brown (since Lewis, only three additional defensive players have been named Super Bowl MVP: Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith in Super Bowl XLVIII, and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller in Super Bowl 50).
Jamal Lewis was the top rusher of the game, Jermaine Lewis notched 145 yards and a touchdown on special teams. In addition, the Ravens defense was coached by Marvin Lewis. The Ravens defense has since been considered among the greatest of all time. The Ravens defense became the third to shut-out their opponent in Super Bowl history; the Giants' only points came on a kickoff return. Washington in Super Bowl VII scored against Miami only after the late fumble by Garo Yepremian, which was returned for a touchdown. The only points Pittsburgh allowed to Minnesota in Super Bowl IX came on the return of a blocked punt.
The New York Giants started a trend of seven different NFC Champions in seven years. The Giants would return to the Super Bowl in 2007 and again in 2011 defeating the New England Patriots on both occasions, ending the current trend at the time, but starting a new one. Beginning with the 2001 St. Louis Rams, who played in Super Bowl XXXVI, there were ten different NFC Champions in ten years. Once again, the Giants ended the trend and started another one. Beginning with the 2008 Super Bowl XLIII participant Arizona Cardinals, there were 6 different NFC Champions in 6 years. This streak was finally ended by the Seattle Seahawks, who advanced to the Super Bowl in both 2013 and 2014.
The Baltimore Ravens would later win Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 against the San Francisco 49ers (which was also aired on CBS). Ray Lewis was a member of both Ravens' Super Bowl wins. In between the Ravens' victories, the Indianapolis Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Patriots would have a Super Bowl appearance more than once, with New England and Pittsburgh winning more than once. The only other AFC team to make the Super Bowl in that stretch were the Oakland Raiders, in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Had the Giants won, it would have marked the first year since 1989 that a Super Bowl and World Series champion came from the same metropolitan area. The New York Yankees won the World Series during the Giants' season. Including the New Jersey Devils' win in the Stanley Cup Finals and the New York Mets' runner-up finish to the rival Yankees, there were four teams from the New York metropolitan area that made the championship round of their respective leagues in the same year.
|Baltimore Ravens||New York Giants|
|First downs rushing||6||2|
|First downs passing||6||6|
|First downs penalty||1||3|
|Third down efficiency||3/16||2/14|
|Fourth down efficiency||0/0||1/1|
|Net yards rushing||111||66|
|Yards per rush||3.4||4.1|
|Passing – Completions-attempts||12/26||15/39|
|Times sacked-total yards||3–20||4–26|
|Net yards passing||133||86|
|Total net yards||244||152|
|Punt returns-total yards||3–34||5–46|
|Kickoff returns-total yards||2–111||7–170|
|Interceptions-total return yards||4–59||0–0|
|Time of possession||34:06||25:54|
1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted
|Player Records Set |
|Most fair catches, game||4||Jermaine Lewis(Bal)|
|Most punts, game||11||Brad Maynard(NYG)|
|Most interceptions thrown, game||4||Kerry Collins|
|Most interceptions returned for td, game||1||Duane Starks(Bal)|
|Most kickoff returns for touchdowns, game||1||Ron Dixon(NYG) |
|Team Records Set |
|Most punts, game||11||Giants|
|Most Interceptions by||4||Ravens|
|Most touchdowns scored by
|Fewest turnovers, game||0|
|Most kickoff returns for touchdowns||1||Ravens |
|Fewest points, first half||0 pts||Giants|
|Fewest rushing touchdowns||0|
|Fewest passing touchdowns||0|
Turnovers are defined as the number of times losing the ball on interceptions and fumbles.
|Records Set, both team totals |
|Fewest net yards,
rushing and passing
|Most punts, game||21||10||11|
|Records tied, both team totals|
|Fewest rushing attempts||49||33||16|
|Fewest first downs||24||13||11|
|Fewest first downs rushing||8||6||2|
Hall of Fame‡
|Qadry Ismail||WR||Amani Toomer|
|Jonathan Ogden‡||LT||Lomas Brown|
|Edwin Mulitalo||LG||Glenn Parker|
|Jeff Mitchell||C||Dusty Zeigler|
|Mike Flynn||RG||Ron Stone|
|Harry Swayne||RT||Luke Petitgout|
|Shannon Sharpe‡||TE||WR||Ike Hilliard|
|Brandon Stokley||WR||Ron Dixon|
|Trent Dilfer||QB||Kerry Collins|
|Sam Gash||FB||Greg Comella|
|Priest Holmes||RB||Tiki Barber|
|Rob Burnett||LDE||Michael Strahan‡|
|Sam Adams||LDT||Christian Peter|
|Tony Siragusa||RDT||Keith Hamilton|
|Michael McCrary||RDE||Cedric Jones|
|Peter Boulware||LLB||Micheal Barrow|
|Ray Lewis‡||MLB||Jessie Armstead|
|Jamie Sharper||RLB||Ryan Phillips|
|Duane Starks||LCB||Dave Thomas|
|Chris McAlister||RCB||Jason Sehorn|
|Kim Herring||SS||Sam Garnes|
|Rod Woodson‡||FS||Shaun Williams|
|Matt Stover||K||Brad Daluiso|
|Kyle Richardson||P||Brad Maynard|
- Referee: Gerald Austin #34 third Super Bowl (XXIV as side judge, XXXI as referee)
- Umpire: Chad Brown #31 first Super Bowl
- Head Linesman: Tony Veteri, Jr. #36 first Super Bowl
- Line Judge: Walt Anderson #66 first Super Bowl
- Field Judge: Bill Lovett #98 first Super Bowl
- Side Judge: Doug Toole #4 second Super Bowl (XXXII)
- Back Judge: Bill Schmitz #122 first Super Bowl
- Alternate Referee: Larry Nemmers #20 (side judge for XXV)
- Alternate Umpire: Jeff Rice #44
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized a test of a system used at the event to monitor the people in attendance. A group of four companies installed a face recognition system to scan the faces of fans entering the stadium and compare them with a database of criminals. Attendees were not told that they were subject to this surveillance. Tampa police reported that the system identified nineteen criminals, but due to complaints and trouble with false positive results, it was not re-used the next year. Super Bowl XXXVI and all subsequent Super Bowls have been designated as a National Special Security Event, qualifying for extra security detail from the Secret Service.
Notes and references
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Super Bowl XXXV.|
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