The Eagles fell short of the Super Bowl this year, but owner Jeffrey Lurie has joined another exclusive club:

He's one of the world's 793 billionaires, according to Forbes magazine.

In these times of economic freefall, that's quite a feat.

Last year, the annual list had 332 more names.

Ten fortunes dwindled by a combined $238 billion last year - more than the gross domestic product of Ireland, according to Forbes.

Yet Lurie, along with only 20 other Americans, defied the downturn and made the list for the first time.

He just made the list, tying for No. 701 with $1 billion.

Apparently, the man who once said other franchises viewed the Eagles as the NFL's "gold standard" has a lot of gold.

The Boston-born heir to a publishing and movie-theater fortune was regarded as an undistinguished Hollywood producer when he bought the Eagles in 1994 for $185 million - then a record for any sports franchise.

Many observers were skeptical, convinced he'd overpaid for a franchise with a difficult lease in aging Veterans Stadium.

The opening in 2001 of the state-of-art NovaCare complex, the team's corporate headquarters and training facility, was followed in 2003 by the creation of a new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field.

In September, Forbes estimated the franchise as worth 1.116 billion, seventh most in the National Football League.

During Lurie's tenure, the team has succeeded on the field as well, winning a greater percentage of games and more playoffs games than under any previous owner, according to the Eagles website.

Demanding Eagles fans, though, would be quick to point out the lack of an NFL title under the Lurie regime.

For more on Lurie and other billionaires, see the Forbes list as www.forbes.com/billionaires.