Best moments from Super Bowl Opening Night: NFL remembers Kobe Bryant

Richard Sherman, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes spoke about the death of Kobe Bryant.

There aren’t many things that can overtake the anticipation of Super Bowl week, but on Monday night in Miami, there were a lot of heavy hearts, as many were still taken aback by the death of Kobe Bryant.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers took the stage for Super Bowl LIV Opening Night where thousands of fans, reporters and league alumni gathered at Marlins Park on Monday. Usually, the media showcase is full of excitement, but the atmosphere was certainly different as the players made sure to pay tribute to Bryant’s legacy.

But they also made sure the Super Bowl wasn’t completely left off the conversation.

Here are some of the top moments from Super Bowl Opening Night in Miami.

Remembering Kobe Bryant

Before the Chiefs and 49ers got their turn in the media spotlight, the league took a moment to pay tribute to Bryant with a moment of silence.

The former Los Angeles Lakers legend was killed along with daughter Gianna and seven others following a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday. Fans chanted “Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!” in the end of the moment of silence.

Many players were emotional when talking about the impact Bryant had on them and the influence he had on their work ethic and preparation.

“I wasn’t lucky enough to get to meet Kobe but the impact that he made on my life was huge,” said Patrick Mahomes. “The way he was able to go about every single day, when I was a kid, and the work ethic and the intensity that he had to be great every single day.

“Even to this day, I still watch videos on YouTube the day before games and just listen to him talk and how he puts everything in perspective of being great on and off the field with his kids, and his business ventures and then, obviously, his play. It’s a tragic thing. Prayers to his family, but he made a huge impact in my life, for sure.”

The player who seemed to be hit more intensely by the news was 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who grew up in the same area as Bryant did. Sherman even mentioned how he found inspiration from Bryant returning from a torn Achilles when he suffered the same injury.

San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers speaks to reporters during Opening Night for the NFL Super Bowl 54.
(David J. Phillip/AP)

Katie Sowers is a star

Making history as the first woman and openly gay coach to reach the Super Bowl, Katie Sowers did not shy away from the spotlight. In fact, she embraced it and had some strong messages about her journey and what she hopes other women take from it.

Sowers’s path began when she was coaching a youth basketball team. Scott Pioli, then the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, helped her get in touch with Kyle Shanahan for a job with the Falcons as an offensive assistant in 2016. She would later join Shanahan in San Francisco.

Reid embracing Florida lifestyle

There are many benefits to having the Super Bowl in the Sunshine State and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is taking advantage of the chance to get out of the winter clothing he usually sports on the sidelines.

The 61-year-old sported a red Hawaiian shirt with a Chiefs logo. When asked if he would ever wear a speedo, he thankfully shut down any chance of that being a possibility while he’s in Miami.

Reid wasn’t the only one garnering some attention on social media as someone decided to dress up like Reid when he participated in a punt, pass and kick competition back in 1971. For those who might not recall the story, when Reid was 12 years old, he participated in a kids competition looking like a full-grown man.

Kittle and Kelce show some mutual appreciation

One big storyline heading into Sunday will be the battle between Travis Kelce and George Kittle, the two top tight ends in football. But any hint of a rivalry between the two was quickly squashed while they were on stage talking to Jay Glazer, spending most of the time complimenting each other.

“How he runs routes, how he plays the game with a certain level of energy and enthusiasm. You gotta love it,” Kelce told NFL Network’s Michael Irvin about Kittle. “There’s nothing that you dislike about that guy’s game. Just trying to take it to the next level every single time he plays.”

Kittle made sure to return the favour, saying Kelce was one of his big influences and helped set the stage for him in the NFL.

“Other than being the best red-zone threat in football, just when you watch his film, how much passion he plays with and how much fun he has in the game,” Kittle said about Kelce. “I really think that he kicked down the door for how good a tight end can actually be.”

Mahomes continues to inspire

As usual, the quarterbacks had a lot of attention on Monday. Especially Patrick Mahomes, who had to field some tough questions while also providing one of the top moments of the night when a young child acting as a reporter approached him and told him that he was an idol.

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