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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

We're No. 1
The Eagles, Flyers and Sixers are at the top. It can't last.

By the time you read this it could be all over.

But for a brief moment last Thursday, the stars must have aligned because the Eagles, Flyers and Sixers were all in first place.

More than that, banged-up Philly stars Allen Iverson and nationally-ridiculed Donovan McNabb were both named the top offensive players of the week in their conferences.

Is this the year a Philly team finally wins a national championship?

Somebody pinch me.

Don't blink, hold your breath or uncross your fingers. It can't last.

This is Philly.

Billy Penn shrouded in a fog of perpetual loserness pierced only by rare glimpses of the sun in failed, but deep playoff runs.

Philly sports fans love to be miserable the way Seattle residents just shrug their shoulders at rain. The difference is we never stop talking about it.

From the TV news and sports radio, to the newspapers and fan Web sites, we revel in our role of almost-but-not-quite champions. Gruff, lovable losers that try real hard, but always seem to come up just a little short.

Don't believe me? Listen to the condescending tone of broadcasters the next time one of our teams is in a nationally televised game.

Hell, whole books have been written on the subject.

It's the very thing that's given former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski a career as a football analyst for ESPN. Jaws' Super Bowl prediction: Dick Vermeil's Kansas City Chiefs vs. Andy Reid's Eagles.

You know, the same team that started out 0-2 in its new stadium after giving the boot to a bunch of pricey Pro Bowl veterans. The same team whose top running back became the only player in the country to sit out training camp because he didn't have a contract. The same team whose quarterback was officially named the worst in the NFL just a few short weeks ago.

Those Eagles?

Meanwhile, the Sixers have been almost miraculous so far. For a team without the prerequisite big man at center, the Sixers have come out with little guns blazing this season.

Case in point, last Wednesday night starters Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson and Derrick Coleman were sidelined with injuries and A.I.'s knee was so swollen he couldn't even hobble onto the plane. Yet, the Sixers pulled off an upset victory over Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors.

It's the first time I can remember that Iverson hasn't played hurt. He usually just puts on yet another brace and goes to work.

Trade in those braces for walkers and you have the geriatric Flyers. The sixth-oldest team in the NHL, with an average age of 29.6, they are unbeaten at home as of this writing.

In a sport where 25-year-olds are considered hardened veterans, the Flyers outdid even themselves last week by signing 37-year-old enforcer Craig Berube to a try out contract with the Phantoms. Much hated across the league, Bucks County's own ex-Flyer is back for another bruising round.

As am I. As always, a die-hard Philly sports fan.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at  or call him at 215-269-5051. To read his previous columns, click here.

Nov. 23, 2003