|1997 National Football League season|
|Duration||August 31 – 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|
|Date||February 1, 1998|
|National Football League seasons
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.
1997 NFL Season Changes
- Washington Redskins – New Stadium called Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.
- Tennessee Oilers – Moved from Houston to Tennessee. Played in the Liberty Bowl.
- 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 Changes
- St. Louis Rams – Dick Vermeil; replaced Rich Brooks who was fired after the 1996 season.
- New Orleans Saints – Mike Ditka; replaced interim head coach Rick Venturi who replaced the resigning Jim Mora that same year.
- New York Giants – Jim Fassel; replaced Dan Reeves who was fired after the '96 season.
- Atlanta Falcons – Dan Reeves; replaced June Jones who was fired after the '96 season.
- New York Jets – Bill Parcells; replaced Rich Kotite who was fired after the '96 season.
- Detroit Lions – Bobby Ross; replaced Wayne Fontes who was fired after the '96 season.
- San Francisco 49ers – Steve Mariucci; replaced George Seifert who resigned after the '96 season.
- New England Patriots – Pete Carroll; replaced Bill Parcells who accepted the job to coach the Jets.
- Oakland Raiders – Joe Bugel; replaced Mike White who was fired after the '96 season.
- San Diego Chargers – Kevin Gilbride; replaced Bobby Ross who was fired after the '96 season.
Major rule changes
- 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 standings
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
|(3) New England Patriots||10||6||0||.625||369||289|
|(6) Miami Dolphins||9||7||0||.563||339||327|
|New York Jets||9||7||0||.563||348||287|
|(2) Pittsburgh Steelers||11||5||0||.688||372||307|
|(5) Jacksonville Jaguars||11||5||0||.688||394||318|
|(1) Kansas City Chiefs||13||3||0||.813||375||232|
|(4) Denver Broncos||12||4||0||.750||472||287|
|San Diego Chargers||4||12||0||.250||266||425|
|(3) New York Giants||10||5||1||.656||307||265|
|(2) Green Bay Packers||13||3||0||.813||422||282|
|(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||6||0||.625||299||263|
|(5) Detroit Lions||9||7||0||.563||379||306|
|(6) Minnesota Vikings||9||7||0||.563||354||359|
|(1) San Francisco 49ers||13||3||0||.813||375||265|
|New Orleans Saints||6||10||0||.375||237||327|
|St. Louis Rams||5||11||0||.313||299||359|
- 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).
- Main article: 1997–98 NFL playoffs
- 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 Bowl XXXII: Denver (AFC) 31, Green Bay (NFC) 24, at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California, January 25, 1998
|Points scored||Denver Broncos (472)|
|Total yards gained||Denver Broncos (5,872)|
|Yards rushing||Pittsburgh Steelers (2,479)|
|Yards passing||Seattle Seahawks (3,959)|
|Fewest points allowed||Kansas City Chiefs (232)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||San Francisco 49ers (4,013)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Pittsburgh Steelers (1,318)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Dallas Cowboys (2,522)|
|Scoring||Mike Hollis, Jacksonville (134 points)|
|Touchdowns||Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar, Miami (16 TDs)|
|Most field goals made||Richie Cunningham, Dallas (34 FGs)|
|Rushing||Barry Sanders, Detroit, (2,053 yards)|
|Passing||Steve Young, San Francisco (104.7 rating)|
|Passing touchdowns||Brett Favre, Green Bay (35 TDs)|
|Pass receiving||Tim Brown, Oakland and Herman Moore, Detroit (104 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||Rob Moore, Arizona (1,584)|
|Punt returns||Jermaine Lewis, Baltimore (15.6 average yards)|
|Kickoff returns||Michael Bates, Carolina (27.3 average yards)|
|Interceptions||Ryan McNeil, St. Louis (9)|
|Punting||Mark Royals, New Orleans (45.9 average yards)|
|Sacks||John Randle, Minnesota (15.5)|
|Most Valuable Players||Brett Favre, Quarterback, Green Bay and Barry Sanders, Running Back, Detroit|
|Coach of the Year||Jim Fassel, New York Giants|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Barry Sanders, Running Back, Detroit|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Dana Stubblefield, Defensive Tackle, San Francisco|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Warrick Dunn, Running Back, Tampa Bay|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Peter Boulware, Linebacker, Baltimore|
- NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
- NFL History 1991–2000 (Last accessed October 17, 2005)
- 1997 season in details
- Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
- Steelers Fever – History of NFL Rules (Last accessed October 17, 2005)
Template:1997 NFL season by team
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