1997 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration August 31, 1997–December 22, 1997
Start date December 27, 1997
AFC Champions Denver Broncos
NFC Champions Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl XXXII
Date January 25, 1998
Site Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Champions Denver Broncos
Pro Bowl
Date February 1, 1998
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 1996 1998 > 

The 1997 NFL season was the 78th regular season of the National Football League. The Oilers relocated from Houston, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. The newly-renamed Tennessee Oilers played their home games during this season at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee while a new stadium in Nashville began construction.

This was the last season to date that TNT Broadcast NFL games, as well as the last for NBC until 2006. When the TV contracts were renewed near the end of the season, CBS took over the American Football Conference package and ESPN won the right to televise all of the Sunday night games.

Due to Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, the Chicago BearsMiami Dolphins game at Pro Player Stadium was moved back one day to Monday, October 27.

The Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both changed their uniforms, and the new uniforms for both teams were introduced during this season.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXXII when the Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers.

1997 NFL Season ChangesEdit



  • Pittsburgh Steelers - New font style numbers to match those on the helmets; Steelers logo patch on uniform.
  • Baltimore Ravens - New style numbers with shadow in the back; wore white pants with home uniforms.
  • Cincinnati Bengals - Brighter orange on uniform; new Logo, and Bengals logo on sleeve ends.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers - New logo and uniforms; Pewter pants and red home jerseys. Orange was maintained as a pinstripe.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars - New font style numbers; black side panels on uniforms.
  • Atlanta Falcons - New Logo; new striping on pants; red numbers with black trim on road uniforms.
  • San Diego Chargers - White pants with road uniforms.
  • Denver Broncos - New Logo and uniforms, with navy replacing orange as the primary color.
  • Miami Dolphins - New Logo with darker aqua; new shadow in the numbers.

1997 Coaching ChangesEdit

Major rule changesEdit

  • When a team fakes a punt and throws the ball downfield, pass interference will not be called on the two outside defenders who are actually trying to block a coverage man from getting downfield and might not even know the ball has been thrown.
  • In order to reduce taunting and excessive celebrations, no player may remove his helmet while on the playing field except during timeouts and between quarters. This is known as the "Emmitt Smith rule" after the Dallas Cowboys' Running Back's habit of taking his helmet off every time he scored a touchdown.

Final regular season standingsEdit

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green

AFC East
(3) New England Patriots 1060.625369289
(6) Miami Dolphins 970.563339327
New York Jets 970.563348287
Buffalo Bills 6100.375255367
Indianapolis Colts 3130.188313401
AFC Central
(2) Pittsburgh Steelers 1150.688372307
(5) Jacksonville Jaguars 1150.688394318
Tennessee Oilers 880.500333310
Cincinnati Bengals 790.438355405
Baltimore Ravens 691.406326345
AFC West
(1) Kansas City Chiefs 1330.813375232
(4) Denver Broncos 1240.750472287
Seattle Seahawks 880.500365362
Oakland Raiders 4120.250324419
San Diego Chargers 4120.250266425
NFC East
(3) New York Giants 1051.656307265
Washington Redskins 871.531327289
Philadelphia Eagles 691.406317372
Dallas Cowboys 6100.375304314
Arizona Cardinals 4120.250283379
NFC Central
(2) Green Bay Packers 1330.813422282
(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1060.625299263
(5) Detroit Lions 970.563379306
(6) Minnesota Vikings 970.563354359
Chicago Bears 4120.250263421
NFC West
(1) San Francisco 49ers 1330.813375265
Carolina Panthers 790.438265314
Atlanta Falcons 790.438320361
New Orleans Saints 6100.375237327
St. Louis Rams 5110.313299359


  • Miami finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).
  • Pittsburgh finished ahead of Jacksonville in the AFC Central based on better net division points (78 to Jaguars' 23).
  • Oakland finished ahead of San Diego in the AFC West based on better division record (2-6 to Chargers' 1-7).
  • San Francisco was the top NFC playoff seed based on better conference record than Green Bay (11-1 to Packers' 10-2).
  • Detroit finished ahead of Minnesota in the NFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).
  • Carolina finished ahead of Atlanta in the NFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).


  Wild Card Playoffs Divisional Playoffs Conference Championships Super Bowl XXXII

<td align=center bgcolor="#f2f2f2" style="border:1px solid #aaa;">5</td> <td style="border:1px solid #aaa;" bgcolor="#f9f9f9"> Detroit</td> <td align=center style="border:1px solid #aaa;" bgcolor=#f9f9f9>10 <td align=center style="border-width:0 0 2px 0; border-style:solid;border-color:black;"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td height="7"></td>

4  Tampa Bay 20  
  4  Tampa Bay 7  
    2  Green Bay 21  
  2  Green Bay 23  
  1  San Francisco 10  
6  Minnesota 23  
3  N.Y. Giants 22  
  6  Minnesota 22
    1  San Francisco 38  
  N2  Green Bay 24
  A4  Denver 31
5  Jacksonville 17  
4  Denver 42  
  4  Denver 14
    1  Kansas City 10  
  4  Denver 24
  2  Pittsburgh 21  
6  Miami 3  
3  New England 17  
  3  New England 6
    2  Pittsburgh 7  


  • Wild-Card playoffs: DENVER 42, Jacksonville 17; NEW ENGLAND 17, Miami 3
  • Divisional playoffs: PITTSBURGH 7, New England 6; Denver 14, KANSAS CITY 10
  • AFC Championship: Denver 24, PITTSBURGH 21 at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 11, 1998


  • Wild-Card playoffs: Minnesota 23, N.Y. GIANTS 22; TAMPA BAY 20, Detroit 10
  • Divisional playoffs: SAN FRANCISCO 38, Minnesota 22; GREEN BAY 21, Tampa Bay 7
  • NFC Championship: Green Bay 23, SAN FRANCISCO 10 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California, January 11, 1998

Super BowlEdit

Statistical leadersEdit


Points scoredDenver Broncos (472)
Total yards gainedDenver Broncos (5,872)
Yards rushingPittsburgh Steelers (2,479)
Yards passingSeattle Seahawks (3,959)
Fewest points allowedKansas City Chiefs (232)
Fewest total yards allowedSan Francisco 49ers (4,013)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (1,318)
Fewest passing yards allowedDallas Cowboys (2,522)


ScoringMike Hollis, Jacksonville (134 points)
TouchdownsAbdul-Karim al-Jabbar, Miami (16 TDs)
Most field goals madeRichie Cunningham, Dallas (34 FGs)
RushingBarry Sanders, Detroit, (2,053 yards)
PassingSteve Young, San Francisco (104.7 rating)
Passing touchdownsBrett Favre, Green Bay (35 TDs)
Pass receivingTim Brown, Oakland and Herman Moore, Detroit (104 catches)
Pass receiving yardsRob Moore, Arizona (1,584)
Punt returnsJermaine Lewis, Baltimore (15.6 average yards)
Kickoff returnsMichael Bates, Carolina (27.3 average yards)
InterceptionsRyan McNeil, St. Louis (9)
PuntingMark Royals, New Orleans (45.9 average yards)
SacksJohn Randle, Minnesota (15.5)


Most Valuable PlayersBrett Favre, Quarterback, Green Bay and Barry Sanders, Running Back, Detroit
Coach of the YearJim Fassel, New York Giants
Offensive Player of the YearBarry Sanders, Running Back, Detroit
Defensive Player of the YearDana Stubblefield, Defensive Tackle, San Francisco
Offensive Rookie of the YearWarrick Dunn, Running Back, Tampa Bay
Defensive Rookie of the YearPeter Boulware, Linebacker, Baltimore

External LinksEdit


1997 NFL seasonv · d · e
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Baltimore Denver Arizona Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cincinnati Kansas City Dallas Detroit Carolina
Miami Jacksonville Oakland NY Giants Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego Philadelphia Minnesota St. Louis
NY Jets Tennessee Seattle Washington Tampa Bay San Francisco
1997 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXXII
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