2020 Super Bowl Opening Night: Chiefs, 49ers players share stories of being inspired by Kobe Bryant and more

Players from San Francisco and Kansas City met the media at Marlins Park to kick off Super Bowl Week in Miami

Super Bowl Week is officially underway. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers still have a few days to prepare for their battle for this year's Lombardi Trophy, but both teams were out in full force at Marlins Park on Monday for Opening Night, the NFL's annual pre-championship media showcase featuring thousands of fans, reporters and league alumni.

How is Andy Reid feeling ahead of his first Super Bowl trip in 15 years? Is Jimmy Garoppolo feeling the pressure to deliver in his first Super Bowl since backing up big-game great Tom Brady? What does Tyreek Hill think of his upcoming matchup with Richard Sherman? How are players using their Super Bowl platform to pay tribute to sports icon Kobe Bryant, who died unexpectedly Sunday? Opening Night gave us answers to all those questions and a whole lot more, with both the Chiefs and Niners taking podiums throughout the evening.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Monday night's action:

Kobe Bryant remembered

On a night typically reserved for everything from serious Super Bowl talk to zany fan questions, a sizable number of players dedicated chunks of their interview time to memorializing NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died at 41 in a helicopter accident the day before. Opening Night kicked off with a moment of silence for the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star, as well as his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and the seven others killed in the Sunday morning accident. And then countless names from both the Chiefs and 49ers shared personal stories of being inspired by Bryant. Among them: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Richard Sherman.

Chiefs using Andy Reid's resume as motivation

In one of Mahomes' first appearances in front of a mic on Monday night, he made it clear that he's after a Lombardi Trophy not just for himself but for Reid, echoing the public sentiments of plenty of other Chiefs desperate to get their coach his first-ever Super Bowl ring. Last seen in the Super Bowl back in 2005, when he represented the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid is in a select group just for reaching the big game twice, but a win over San Francisco would get a monumental monkey off his back. As Mahomes and his teammates reiterated throughout Monday, Reid's players are well aware of that reality.

George Kittle steals the spotlight for San Francisco

The Niners provided some nice media nuggets during their visit to the Marlins Park floor, with Garoppolo notably sharing that former mentor and (former?) New England Patriots star Tom Brady congratulated him on the Super Bowl bid following San Francisco's NFC Championship win. But Kittle was easily the darling of the cameras on the Niners' side. Not only did he lavish fellow tight end Travis Kelce with praise, but he complimented reporters' facial hair, called out Garoppolo's texting habits and, well, just plain hammed it up. In a Super Bowl chock-full of characters, he'll be one to keep an eye on come Sunday.

Mutual respect between K.C. and San Francisco

It's rare you'll see anyone trashing an opponent at an Opening Night media session, but a common theme of Monday night's event was specific praise for the other team's stars. Mahomes, in particular, drew some lofty comparisons from San Francisco's defense, with Richard Sherman deeming him a combination of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Tony Romo. Sherman himself, meanwhile, got all kinds of love from Kansas City's side, including from star WR Tyreek Hill and pass-rusher Frank Clark. If nothing else, these two teams will enter Super Bowl LIV with plenty of respect for each other.

Relive the entire evening right here, with more photos, interviews and interesting quotes below from our live blog

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That'll do it for our live blog coverage of Opening Night, folks. Be sure to keep it locked right here at CBS Sports for more detailed takeaways, plus a whole lot more Super Bowl LIV preview material in the days leading up to the matchup.

Tom Brady sent Jimmy Garoppolo, his former backup, a text of congratulations after the Niners won the NFC Championship. That's per Garoppolo, who was asked about his ex-mentor at Opening Night.




Powerful but unsurprising remarks about Patrick Mahomes from Chiefs coach Andy Reid on NFL Network, per ProFootballTalk: "You knew he was going to be great. Brett Veach said it. He's our general manager. He said he's the greatest player he'd ever seen. That's quite a tribute to the kid. Now that I've been around him, and you've watched him play, he's pretty doggone good."

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, per ProFootballTalk: "Richard Sherman, I respect your game, man. Thank you for locking down all the receivers you have faced. You are truly a G.O.A.T., man, and I really hope we can jersey swap after the game. I can't wait for the matchup."


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