1997 NFL season

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 construction of a new stadium in Nashville started. Houston would rejoin the NFL with the expansion Texans in 2002.

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, Fox retained the National Football Conference package, 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 delayed 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 31–24 at Qualcomm Stadium. This broke the National Football Conference's streak of thirteen consecutive Super Bowl victories, the last American Football Conference win having been the Los Angeles Raiders defeating the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.

1997 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationAugust 31, 1997 – December 22, 1997
Start dateDecember 27, 1997
AFC ChampionsDenver Broncos
NFC ChampionsGreen Bay Packers
Super Bowl XXXII
DateJanuary 25, 1998
SiteQualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
ChampionsDenver Broncos
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 1, 1998
SiteAloha Stadium


New uniforms

  • 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.

Coaching changes

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, between quarters, and in the case of an injury. Violating the rule results in a 15-yard penalty. 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

AFC East
(3) New England Patriots 10 6 0 .625 369 289 W1
(6) Miami Dolphins 9 7 0 .563 339 327 L2
New York Jets 9 7 0 .563 348 287 L1
Buffalo Bills 6 10 0 .375 255 367 L3
Indianapolis Colts 3 13 0 .188 313 401 L1
AFC Central
(2) Pittsburgh Steelers 11 5 0 .688 372 307 L1
(5) Jacksonville Jaguars 11 5 0 .688 394 318 W2
Tennessee Oilers 8 8 0 .500 333 310 W1
Cincinnati Bengals 7 9 0 .438 355 405 W3
Baltimore Ravens 6 9 1 .406 326 345 L1
AFC West
(1) Kansas City Chiefs 13 3 0 .813 375 232 W6
(4) Denver Broncos 12 4 0 .750 472 287 W1
Seattle Seahawks 8 8 0 .500 365 362 W2
Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 324 419 L5
San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 .250 266 425 L8
NFC East
(3) New York Giants 10 5 1 .656 307 265 W3
Washington Redskins 8 7 1 .531 327 289 W1
Philadelphia Eagles 6 9 1 .406 317 372 L3
Dallas Cowboys 6 10 0 .375 304 314 L5
Arizona Cardinals 4 12 0 .250 283 379 W1
NFC Central
(2) Green Bay Packers 13 3 0 .813 422 282 W5
(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 6 0 .625 299 263 W1
(5) Detroit Lions 9 7 0 .563 379 306 W2
(6) Minnesota Vikings 9 7 0 .563 354 359 W1
Chicago Bears 4 12 0 .250 263 421 L1
NFC West
(1) San Francisco 49ers 13 3 0 .813 375 265 L1
Carolina Panthers 7 9 0 .438 265 314 L2
Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0 .438 320 361 L1
New Orleans Saints 6 10 0 .375 237 327 L1
St. Louis Rams 5 11 0 .313 299 359 W1


  • Miami finished ahead of NY 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).

Players of the Month


1997 Offensive Defensive Special Teams
September RB – Terrell Davis, Denver LB – Chris Slade, New England K – Matt Stover, Baltimore
October RB – Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh DE – Bruce Smith, Buffalo K – Greg Davis, San Diego
November QB – John Elway, Denver S – Jerome Woods, Kansas City WR-PR – Eric Metcalf, San Diego
December WR – Keenan McCardell, Jacksonville LB – Derrick Thomas, Kansas City K – Pete Stoyanovich, Kansas City


1997 Offensive Defensive Special Teams
September WR – Jake Reed, Minnesota DT – Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay K – Richie Cunningham, Dallas
October RB – Barry Sanders, Detroit DT – John Randle, Minnesota P – Matt Turk, Washington
November RB – Barry Sanders, Detroit DT – Dana Stubblefield, San Francisco K – Doug Brien, New Orleans
December RB – Barry Sanders, Detroit CB – Jason Sehorn, New York Giants RB-KR – Byron Hanspard, Atlanta


Dec. 28 – Houlihan's Stadium   Jan. 4 – Lambeau Field          
 5  Detroit  10
 4  Tampa Bay  7
 4  Tampa Bay  20     Jan. 11 – 3Com Park
 2  Green Bay  21  
Dec. 27 – Giants Stadium  2  Green Bay  23
Jan. 3 – 3Com Park
   1  San Francisco  10  
 6  Minnesota  23 NFC Championship
 6  Minnesota  22
 3  N.Y. Giants  22   Jan. 25 – Qualcomm Stadium
 1  San Francisco  38  
Wild card playoffs  
Divisional playoffs
Dec. 27 – Mile High Stadium  N2  Green Bay  24
Jan. 4 – Arrowhead Stadium
   A4  Denver  31
 5  Jacksonville  17 Super Bowl XXXII
 4  Denver  14
 4  Denver  42     Jan. 11 – Three Rivers Stadium
 1  Kansas City  10  
Dec. 28 – Foxboro Stadium  4  Denver  24
Jan. 3 – Three Rivers Stadium
   2  Pittsburgh  21  
 6  Miami  3 AFC Championship
 3  New England  6
 3  New England  17  
 2  Pittsburgh  7  

Statistical leaders


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 Karim Abdul-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 Comeback Player of the Year Robert Brooks, Wide Receiver, Green Bay
NFL Man of the Year Troy Aikman, Quarterback, Dallas
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Terrell Davis, Running Back, Denver


The 1997 NFL Draft was held from April 19 to 20, 1997 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the St. Louis Rams selected offensive tackle Orlando Pace from Ohio State University.


American Football Conference

National Football Conference

External links


  • "The Official national Football League: 1998 Record and Fact Book." Workman Publishing Co. New York. July 1998.
  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1991–2000 (Last accessed October 17, 2005)
  • 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)
1997 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1997 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's 22nd season with the National Football League. This season would mark a new era for the Seahawks as they drafted two first round picks (Shawn Springs and Walter Jones) and traded quarterback Rick Mirer and signed Minnesota Vikings/Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon to be John Friesz's backup. Moon and Jones would go on to be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and 2014, respectively. They also signed rookie quarterback Jon Kitna. After a Week 1 injury to Friesz, Moon led the Seahawks improvement from 1996's 7–9 record to finish 8–8. This would be Moon’s last season making the Pro Bowl in his career, he went on to win Pro Bowl MVP.

This season is notable for being the first under new owner Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Allen helped keep the team from relocating and made sure it remained in Seattle.

Bill Carollo

William F. "Bill" Carollo (born November 27, 1951) is a retired American football official who officiated National Football League (NFL) games from 1989 through 2008. He wore uniform number 63. Carollo officiated in two Super Bowls and eight conference championship games. After the 2008 season, he became the Director of Officiating for the Big Ten Conference.

Brentson Buckner

Brentson André Buckner (born September 30, 1971) is the current Defensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders, and is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League.

Corey Dowden

Corey Dowden is a former defensive back in the National Football League.

Daryl Carter

Daryl Carter is a former linebacker in the National Football League. He was a member of the Chicago Bears during the 1997 NFL season.

Earl Little

Earl Jerome Little (born February 10, 1973) is a former American football player. He played professional football as a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for nine years from 1997 to 2005 with the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, and Green Bay Packers. Little played college football at the University of Miami.

Erric Pegram

Erric Demont Pegram (born January 7, 1969) is a retired professional American football player who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL Draft. A 5'9", 188-pound running back from the University of North Texas, Pegram played in seven NFL seasons from 1991-1997. He played high school football at Hillcrest High School, a perennial powerhouse.

Pegram's best season as a pro was during the 1993 season with the Falcons, rushing for 1,185 yards and three touchdowns. In a game that season against the San Francisco 49ers on September 19, 1993, Pegram ran for 192 yards on 27 carries. Two years later, he found himself as the leading rusher for the Pittsburgh Steelers with 813 yards and led them to a trip to Super Bowl XXX, only to lose to the Dallas Cowboys 27-17. He ended his career after the 1997 NFL season when he split time between the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers.

Pegram lives in Naples, Florida, is married, and has four daughters. He coaches a little league football team – the North Texas Express.

Fred Lane (American football)

Fred Brown Lane, Jr. (September 6, 1975 – July 6, 2000) was an American football running back in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers.

Jon Hesse

Jonathan Andrew "Jon" Hesse (born June 6, 1973) is a former professional American football linebacker in the National Football League. He was the 7th round draft pick (#221 overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1997 NFL Draft. He would play linebacker with the St. Louis Rams in 1998. He also was included on the Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXII roster following the 1997 NFL season.

Kerry Collins

Kerry Michael Collins (born December 30, 1972) is a former American football quarterback who played 17 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Penn State University and earned All-American honors. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the fifth overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft, the first choice in the franchise's history.

He also played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts. He defeated every NFL team except the Miami Dolphins during his career, and threw for over 200 touchdowns. He led the New York Giants to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 34–7. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Kevin Mitchell (linebacker)

Kevin Danyelle Mitchell (January 1, 1971 – April 30, 2007) was an American football linebacker in the National Football League from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He played for the San Francisco 49ers, the New Orleans Saints, and the Washington Redskins.

List of Monday Night Football results (1990–2009)

Beginning in the 1970 NFL season, the National Football League began scheduling a weekly regular season game on Monday night before a national television audience. From 1970–2005, the ABC television network carried these games, with the ESPN cable television network taking over beginning in September 2006. Listed below are games played from 1990 to 2009.

Mark Hittner

Mark Hittner is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) since the beginning of the 1997 NFL season. He works as a head linesman and wears the uniform number 28. He is most notable for officiating in the last three of five Super Bowls, most recently in Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006 between the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hittner played college football at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas from 1976 to 1979 where he was an all-conference quarterback in 1978-79 and is the school's second-leading career passer in yards (4,830).

Hittner was a college football official in the Big Eight/Big 12 Conference for 13 years prior to joining the NFL in 1997. He worked the first Big 12 championship game at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis in 1996, won by the Texas Longhorns over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 37-27.

In the NFL, Hittner has officiated eight post-season assignments including Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XL in addition to two wild-card, one divisional, and 2 conference championship games.

For the 2017 NFL season, Hittner is the down judge on the officiating crew headed by referee Craig Wrolstad and he has worked with referee Ed Hochuli from the 2000 NFL season to the 2013 NFL season.Outside of his NFL officiating duties, Hittner owns a financial services company in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

Hittner is married and has three sons.

Nicky Savoie

Nicky John Savoie (born on September 21, 1973) is a former professional American football tight end who played during one season in the National Football League (NFL) with the New Orleans Saints.

Savoie was born in Cut Off, Louisiana, and attended South Lafourche High School. He attended Louisiana State University, where he played college football for the LSU Tigers football team. He was selected by the Saints in the sixth round of the 1997 NFL Draft. During the 1997 NFL season, Savoie appeared in one game with the Saints, making one reception for 14 yards. Savoie later played for the New Orleans Thunder of the short-lived Regional Football League in 1999.

Pete Morelli

Peter Danie Morelli (born November 18, 1951) is a former American football official in the National Football League (NFL) since the 1997 NFL season and the president of Saint Mary's High School in Stockton, California. He wore uniform number 135.As an official in the NFL, Morelli is known for working Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 as a field judge.

Randy Kinder

Randolph Samuel Kinder (born April 4, 1975) is a former running back in the National Football League. He played with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers 1997 NFL season. As such, he was a member of the NFC Championship team with the Packers.

He played at the collegiate level at the University of Notre Dame.

Ronnie Anderson

Ronnie Darrell Anderson (born February 27, 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a former wide receiver in the National Football League. He first was a member of the Green Bay Packers during the 1997 NFL season, but did not see any playing time during the season, instead spending the entire year on the team's practice squad. Anderson was a member of the Arizona Cardinals during the 1998 NFL season and appeared in four games.

He played on the undergraduate level at Allegheny College and finished his career as the school's career leader in receptions at the end of the 1996 season. Anderson competed in track and field for the Gators as well, and was an all-conference standout in both sports, earning multiple accolades from the NCAC.

Ronnie Anderson has played in 16 games, in his 2-year career, with the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers. He has also participated in 3 playoff games. He was not drafted.

Terrell Owens

Terrell Eldorado Owens (; born December 7, 1973), popularly known by his initials, T.O., is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time first-team All-Pro, Owens holds or shares several NFL records. He ranks third in career receiving yards at 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns at 153.

After playing college football and basketball at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Owens was selected in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Owens was a member of the team for seven seasons until he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 following conflict with the 49ers front office. Two years later, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys before being released following three seasons with the team. Owens' NFL career subsequently concluded after one season each with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. He last played professionally for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League in 2012.

While regarded as one of the best players of his era, Owens created a significant amount of controversy during his professional career and also attracted attention for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Thomas Guynes

Thomas V. Guynes (born September 9, 1974 in Marion, Indiana) is a former American football offensive lineman. He played college football as an offensive guard and tackle for the University of Michigan from 1994 to 1996. He also played professional football for the Arizona Cardinals during the 1997 NFL season.

1997 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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