NFL holds tribute for Kobe Bryant and daughter during Super Bowl

Many members playing in the title game also honored Bryant on their cleats.
Image:
The teams line up to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant before the start of the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

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By Ben Kesslen

Before quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to the team's first Super Bowl victory in 50 years, the NFL held a moment of silence ahead of the game to commemorate the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

Players from the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers lined up at the 24-yard line, in honor of one of jersey numbers Bryant wore, and paid tribute to him, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven other people who lost their lives in last week's fatal Calabasas, California, helicopter crash.

"The 49ers, Chiefs, and National Football League extend our deepest condolences to the friends and families of those lost this past week," an announcer said. "Nine individuals whose lives were caught short in Sunday's tragic accident, including Gianna and Kobe Bryant." The tribute also honored Chris Doleman, a former NFL defensive end and Hall of Famer who died last week after a battle with cancer.

"They will never be forgotten," the announcer said.

The moment of silence was one of many held this week from all different sports, who recognized Bryant's significance not just to the NBA but to sports around the world.

Bryant was also mourned by many of the players in the Super Bowl. Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson honored Bryant on his cleats, as did the 49ers' Dante Pettis.

Emmanuel Sanders, a wide receiver on the 49ers, wrote "Rest in Peace" on his cleats, which featured an image of Kobe and both his Jersey numbers.