PHILADELPHIA -- Rhys Hoskins lived and loved life on the other side Sunday.Hoskins watched the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII from the 45-yard line in the third deck at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. He and his girlfriend, Jayme Bermudez, sported Eagles gear and cheered alongside lifelong
PHILADELPHIA -- Rhys Hoskins lived and loved life on the other side Sunday.
Hoskins watched the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII from the 45-yard line in the third deck at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. He and his girlfriend, Jayme Bermudez, sported Eagles gear and cheered alongside lifelong Eagles fans. They went crazy when Trey Burton threw a touchdown pass to Nick Foles on fourth down with a little more than 30 seconds remaining in the first half. They felt victory within their grasp when Brandon Graham stripped Tom Brady of the football with just over two minutes to play in the game.
"Not that it was the ultimate dagger, because there was still time and because there was still Tom Brady," Hoskins said in a telephone interview from Clearwater, Fla. "But I think that was kind of when -- at least in the section that I was in -- that was kind of when we said, 'OK, we can reach out and touch this, this is attainable, it's right there.'"
Hoskins grew up an Oakland Raiders fan in Sacramento, Calif., but like many professional athletes in Philadelphia, he quickly developed an affinity for his local brethren.
"I really have fallen in love with the way the city of Philadelphia rallies behind its sports teams and the passion they show for them," Hoskins said. "I'm lucky enough to be part of the Phillies and get that feeling, but just to see the group of fans that were there at the game, the passion that they have throughout the whole game, that's really easy to be a fan of."
Hoskins got recognized a few times in Minneapolis, which is not a surprise. He is getting recognized more and more, following his 18-home-run performance in 50 games late last season.
"It's just Philly fans being Philly fans," Hoskins said. "They know their sports. We got to talk about something that wasn't baseball, which is different and cool at the same time. I was just one of them this weekend, and it was fun. It really was. It was such a cool experience. It was kind of an instant classic, I think."
Hoskins has seen some of the videos and photos of fans going berserk around the city following the 41-33 thriller. He knows the championship parade on Thursday is going to be huge.
"Ginormous, even," Phillies owner John Middleton said late last week.
Of course, Hoskins would love to be part of a Phillies parade in the future.
"Oh God, yeah," Hoskins said. "Not that I wasn't hungry before, but if that doesn't fire you up and motivate you to be on the other side -- not as a fan, but as an athlete -- I don't know what does. I had people come up to me [in Minneapolis] and say, 'We've been waiting for this our whole lives.' Just the raw emotion and passion. It makes you hungry to have that as a player, and to be part of a city like that is special.
"It's the pinnacle, right? That's what you strive for, that feeling. I can only imagine."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.