Ahead of the big game at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, players from the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs lined up at the 24-yard line for a moment of silence honoring Bryant. The league also paid tribute to Pro Football Hall of Famer and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Chris Doleman, who died on Tuesday, at the age of 58, following a battle with brain cancer.
The touching tribute was followed with guests chanting "Kobe!"
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among the nine victims who died in a devastating helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell first told reporters on Wednesday that the league planned to remember Bryant, as well as Doleman, during the Super Bowl. He also reflected on Bryant's legacy, sharing, "I don't think just Los Angeles is mourning the death of Kobe Bryant
"Kobe was a special person," Goodell shared with reporters. "I did have the opportunity to meet him. He obviously brought a lot to our world, and I think all of us not only feel for the tragic events to his family, but as well as everybody else who was a passenger on the helicopter… It's hard to understand and it's hard to process."
Bryant's wife, Vanessa, broke her silence in an Instagram post on Wednesday as well, expressing her heartbreak and devastation over her family's loss, as well as her gratitude for the monumental outpouring of love and condolences.
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri," she wrote, alongside a family photo. "We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately."
"I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way," she continued, in part. "Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever."
See the video below for more on the many tributes and memorials that have been presented to honor the celebrated icon in the week since his tragic death.