Kobe Bryant on the minds of the 49ers, Chiefs as they touch down in Miami for Super Bowl week
MIAMI - The San Francisco 49ers landed at Miami International Airport just after sunset on Sunday to the sounds of "California Love," on a speaker outside the plane, while the Kansas City Chiefs had to wait a few extra minutes once they got to the Sunshine State.
It took workers at Miami International Airport about three attempts to get one of the rolling staircases that the Chiefs would use to deplane properly lined up with the front door of their chartered jet. The delay was brief, and coach Andy Reid and the rest of the Chiefs’ delegation to make their way into the hangar for the short walk to waiting buses. The Chiefs decided to dress the part, wearing flowered shirts in sunny Florida, a far cry from the 31 degrees in Kansas City, Missouri on Sunday.
A handful of local politicians and officials were at the airport to greet the teams, as loud hip-hop music blared through the maintenance hangar that was being used for the arrivals.
A few of the 49ers danced once they deplaned, in time with the music coming from a nearby DJ. Even the flight attendants on the Chiefs’ flight were celebrating the moment- they gathered at the top of the stairs for a group photo once their passengers deplaned, and then a few of them pulled out their phones for some pictures of players as well.
The Kansas City Chiefs wore flowered shirts in Miami. It was 31 degrees in their hometown on Jan. 26, 2020.
No players or coaches spoke to reporters inside the hangar. The first media session for the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers is Monday night, when the NFL has Super Bowl Opening Night at Marlins Park.
Even as football enters its biggest week, basketball was on the teams' minds. The teams both paid tribute Sunday on social media to Kobe Bryant, whose shocking death in a helicopter crash earlier Sunday reverberated around the world.
“A legend gone too soon," the 49ers wrote.
Added Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark, on Twitter: “I'm devastated, RIP to my idol, Bean, 8, 24, the Goat, the Black Mamba. Wow." And Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland called it a “sad day in America."
A handful of volunteers greeted players, coaches and staff as they made their way down the stairs. Everyone was handed a floral baseball cap, and many players held their phones out to shoot video of the moment they arrived at the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 54 is Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo exits the plane in Miami. Jan. 26, 2020
KTVU contributed to this report.