It was only one chicken wing that separated winner and reigning champ Jonathan "Super Squibb" Squibb from veteran Bill "El Wingador" Simmons at SportsRadio 610 WIP's Wing Bowl 19.
And this year's competition broke the record for number of wings consumed. Super Squibb devoured 255 wings, while El Wingador gobbled 254. The record was previously held by Joey Chestnut, who ate 241 in 2008.
"The field this year was the best it's ever been," said Doug "Damaging Doug" Canavin, who was eliminated after the first round, despite eating over 100 wings.
Squibb, a corporate accountant from Berlin, N.J., looked almost calm as he methodically twisted the wings in his mouth. They emerged clean. He bobbed his head and swayed his hips as if he was listening to music no one else in the sold-out Well Fargo Center could hear.
"I just get in the rhythm," Squibb said after it was all over. "I was in a weird spot this morning so I just kept moving."
It was a close match, with Simmons ahead at the end of the second round. "This was the first year I've ever been down," Squibb said. "But I knew what I had to do. This the hardest I've ever pushed."
Squibb took home $20,000 in cash, a ring from Steven Singer Jewelers and a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500.
What's he going to spend the cash on? New clothes.
When asked if he was going to come back for the four-peat, Squibb responded, "Absolutely."
"It could have gone either way. Squibb's a great eater," said Simmons, a Woodbury Heights, N.J. resident who has won five previous Wing Bowl titles. "If he has one thing over me - other than one wing - it's youth."
But Simmons was gracious after his close loss, shaking hands with Squibb and bringing him in for a hug. "He reminds me a lot of myself," said Simmons, who gave the 25-year-old Squibb some pointers at the weigh-in, like relax and have a good time.
Simmons' 12-year-old daughter Felicia said she was proud of her pops no matter what the outcome, but she did have to return to school after the competition. (She has no plans to follow in Dad's footsteps.)
Also in Simmons' entourage was legendary competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi, who sported a Flyers jersey with his name on the back. "After researching this year, I'd definitely come back next year," the slight, Japanese Kobayashi said through a translator.
Despite not being officially a part of the competition, Kobayashi did the crowd the honor of downing a cheesesteak in 24 seconds. Wit, naturally.
Squibb may have taken home the Wing Bowl crown, but John "Freak of Nature" Harker, of Woodbury, N.J., won Top Entourage. He road into the stadium on his rendition of Mt. Rushmore, with the faces of the Phillies' Four Aces - Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels - replacing the traditional visages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Harker and his posse are dedicated. They took home the same title last year.
Wing Bowl began in 1993 at what was then the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel, now the Sheraton Center City.
But Wing Bowl has never been all about the chicken wings, which were provided by PJ Whelihans. It's about the babes, too. Liz M. from Northern Liberties took home the title of Wingette of the Year.
The event wouldn't be complete without a porn star or two milling around. This year, the adult entertainers included Mary Carey, Katie Morgan and Ron Jeremy, who said he had been up since 3:30 a.m. but was still looking mighty spry in his Crocs.
"What I find amazing is this stadium probably couldn't sell out a Guns 'N' Roses concert, but it sells out for these guys eating chicken," Jeremy said before the event started.