By Anita Oh

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While the Eagles and the city of Philadelphia gained a Super Bowl victory, best friends Mike Howanski and James Knox lost a homemade creation during the championship parade.

“We thought it would’ve ended up in a dumpster,” Knox said.

Five hours of engineering turned plastic and foam into this life-sized Vince Lombardi trophy, which the two friends brought to Broad and Geary Streets in South Philadelphia to watch the new champions roll by.

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“As the buses were coming down, I was on Mike’s shoulders. We were a 20-foot tall monstrosity,” Knox said of their efforts to get the team to notice their trophy.

“We did not think it would ever make it onto the float and we sure didn’t think we would get it back,” said Howanski.

Little did they know the duct-taped trophy not only made it onto the float, it also went with the team all the way to the Art Museum and back to the Linc.

“We were just tracking it all over social media until we found it,” Knox said. “To get it back today means everything, especially from the Eagles.”

The Birds heard about the friends’ #WhereIsIt mission on social media and planned a special surprise for the friends and their families Thursday: a reunion with their trophy, a tour of the Linc, and the chance to meet Eagles tight end Brent Celek in the players’ locker room.

Celek signed the large duct-taped trophy and other memorabilia for the family.

But after all of that, the team had one more surprise for these loyal fans — and this one doesn’t come wrapped in duct tape.

That’s right, the whole squad got up close and personal with the real Vince Lombardi trophy.

“I hope my fiancé doesn’t get jealous but my eyes lit up when I saw that baby,” Howanski said.

His fiancé, Taylor Crocetto, also joined the tour on Thursday.

“I couldn’t even enjoy it for myself because I was so happy for him. This is huge. It’s everything he’s ever wanted,” she said.

“We’re getting married. This is going to be one of my groomsmen,” Howanski joked as he pointed to the life-sized trophy.

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The tale is proof that what is lost can sometimes be found and that what begins as a game can sometimes become the greatest gift.

“This is more than just football team. It brings everyone together,” Howanski said. “It was a magical season already. This is just over and beyond, the cherry on top

“I’ve known Mike since second grade and to still know him 30 years later, that’s a big deal. That’s what the Eagles do for us,” Knox added.

The two now say they’ll have to craft a large class case to house their trophy.