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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Round 1 voting is now closed. See the winners under each matchup. 

Welcome to Billy Penn‘s pseudoscientific, made-up, but otherwise utterly reliable bracket-tournament-style contest so you, our users, can finally crown what we’re humbly calling The Most Philly Thing Ever. So, exactly like the NCAA, we picked the most Philly things we could think of in four categories: the most Philly person, the most Philly food and drink, the most Philly thing from the outside and the most Philly pastime.

So here’s how this will work: We picked two competitors in each sub-category, and then seeded them. Round One has 16 match-ups for a total of 32 Philly things. Vote in each match-up, and we’ll post the results later this week so we can get the second round (the Sweet 16) rolling. In the final four, the winners of each category will go up against each other.

Disagree with our seeding and selections? Send your angry tweets to @billy_penn and we may or may not argue back. As the Democratic union machine says, vote early and often, kids.

Most Philly person


Best Founding Father: Ben Franklin and William (Billy) Penn

Chef’s Empire: Jose Garces and Stephen Starr

Most Hollywood: Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan

Most Political: Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell

The match-ups:


Jose Garces has brought countless good eats to Philadelphia, but Ben Franklin helped bring Philadelphia and America the freedom of choice that is allowing you to choose whether top-notch cuisine or democracy is more important. Let that marinate for a second.

WINNER: Ben Franklin

These political bffs have known each other since the early 80s. Ed Rendell helped remake the city in the 90s, whereas Chris Matthews talks about those types of things. 

WINNER: Ed Rendell

Billy Penn founded the city. M. Night Shyamalan used it as the background for one good movie.

WINNER: Billy Penn

Will Smith once owned the Philadelphia playgrounds where he chilled out, maxed and relaxed. Stephen Starr has over 20 restaurants here.  

WINNER: Will Smith

Most Philly food or drink

The competitors:

Most Philly Snack: TaskyKake and Soft Pretzel

Most Philly Sugary Sweet: Peanut Chews and Water Ice

Most Philly Beer: Yards Brawler and Kenzinger

Sammich-off: Cheesesteak and Roast Pork

The match-ups:

Cheesesteaks are so well known for us they’re called Philly Cheesesteaks. Peanut chews are made next to a prison, but at least it’s our prison.

WINNER: Cheesesteak

 The ironic thing is nothing beats the combination of beer and pretzel. 

WINNER: Soft pretzel

Your favorite adult lunch versus your favorite school lunch dessert.

WINNER: TastyKake

Every Philly water ice is “the best water ice.” And a cold Yards can be equally as effective on a summer night. 

WINNER: Water Ice

Most Philly thing from the outside

The competitors:

-Adelphia pun: Filthadelphia and Killadelphia

Most Philly cliche (that’s really true): Rocky’s town and Awful sports fans

Most musical representation: “Summertime” and Motown Philly

Most Philly establishment: Wawa and Reading Terminal Market

The match-ups:

Wawa is ubiquitous, but damn does “Summertime” get stuck in your head pretty easily.


Booing Santa Claus, holding cells, batteries, the list goes on for Awful sports fans. Boyz II Men broke records for weeks at No. 1 previously set by Elvis.  

WINNER: Awful sports fans


Everyone who comes to town wants to walk or run up the Rocky steps. And if you’re a good host you’ll take all of your guests away from there to Reading Terminal for lunch.

WINNER: Reading Terminal Market


Philadelphia is getting greener but still has a tremendous hazardous waste problem. Its homicide rate in 2013 was slightly higher than Chicago’s and New York’s per capita but decreased by about 25 percent from 2012.

WINNER: Filthadelphia

Most Philly pastime or activity

The competitors:

Best Baseball Team: Taney Dragons and Philadelphia Phillies

Best Basketball Team: Temple U. and Philadelphia 76ers

Best Drunken Party: Mummer’s Parade and Fat Tuesday on South Street

Best Parking Practice: Center lane parking and Saving parking spots

The match-ups:


Our nation’s oldest continuing sports pastime is the Phillies. Temple and its former longtime coach John Chaney always gave Philly residents a gritty, underdog team to identify with.

WINNER: Phillies


Many cities park in the center lane but none do it as much as us. Mo’Ne and Taney reignited our flame for baseball as Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was busy extinguishing it.

WINNER: Center Lane Parking  


The Mummers have been doing their thing since before the United States separated from Britain. The #LOLSixers are still the third-winningest franchise in the NBA, despite being the #LOLSixers now.

WINNER: Mummer’s Parade


Philadelphians know that a good parking spot is a terrible thing to waste. And it’s just people getting drunk on South Street — nothing new, except for it seems like a good reason on Fat Tuesday.

WINNER: Saving parking spots

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.