1997 San Francisco 49ers season

The 1997 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 48th year with the National Football League. The franchise appeared in the NFC Championship Game for the fifth time in the 1990s. This season marked their last appearance in the NFC title game until the 2011 season. The team's playoff run was ended by the Green Bay Packers for the third straight year.

1997 San Francisco 49ers season
Head coachSteve Mariucci
Home fieldCandlestick Park
Division place1st NFC West
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (Vikings) 38–22
Lost NFC Championship (Packers) 10–23


NFL Draft

1997 San Francisco 49ers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 26 Jim Druckenmiller  Quarterback Virginia Tech
2 55 Marc Edwards  Fullback Notre Dame
3 77 Greg Clark  Tight end Stanford
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Undrafted free agents

1997 Undrafted Free Agents of note
Player Position College
Ryan Longwell Kicker California
Brandon Noble Defensive tackle Penn State



1997 San Francisco 49ers staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams Coordinator – George Stewart

Strength and conditioning

  • Physical Development Coordinator – Jerry Attaway
  • Strength Development Coordinator – Michael Barnes



1997 San Francisco 49ers roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Rookies in italics

Regular season

Opening the 1997 season with new coach Steve Mariucci and halfback Garrison Hearst, the 49ers seemed to have shored up their one major weakness from the season before. Also, additions Kevin Gogan to the offensive line and Rod Woodson to the defense were clear improvements over last season's roster. However, in the first game of the season at Tampa Bay, both quarterback Steve Young and receiver Jerry Rice went down with injuries. Rice appeared to be out for the season with a serious knee injury and Young, with yet another concussion, had discussed retirement.

Young eventually came back, as did Rice for ​1 12 quarters (before getting another unrelated injury to his knee), and the team, with the league's number one defense leading the way, pulled together and finished strongly at 13–3.


Week Date Opponent Result TV Time Attendance
1 August 31, 1997 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 6–13 FOX 4:05et
2 September 7, 1997 at St. Louis Rams W 15–12 FOX 1:00et/12:00ct
3 September 14, 1997 New Orleans Saints W 33–7 FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
4 September 21, 1997 Atlanta Falcons W 34–17 FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
5 September 29, 1997 (Mon) at Carolina Panthers W 34–21 ABC 9:00et
7 October 12, 1997 St. Louis Rams W 30–10 FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
8 October 19, 1997 at Atlanta Falcons W 35–28 FOX 1:00et
9 October 26, 1997 at New Orleans Saints W 23–0 FOX 1:00et/12:00ct
10 November 2, 1997 Dallas Cowboys W 17–10 FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
11 November 10, 1997 (Mon) at Philadelphia Eagles W 24–12 ABC 9:00et
12 November 16, 1997 Carolina Panthers W 27–19 FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
13 November 23, 1997 San Diego Chargers W 17–10 NBC 4:15et/1:15pt
14 November 30, 1997 at Kansas City Chiefs L 9–44 FOX 1:00et/12:00ct
15 December 7, 1997 Minnesota Vikings W 28–17 FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
16 December 15, 1997 (Mon) Denver Broncos W 34–17 ABC 9:00et/6:00pt
17 December 21, 1997 at Seattle Seahawks L 9–38 ESPN 8:15et/5:15pt


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


Toward the end of the season, things appeared to be going well for the team's postseason prospects. However, in the second to last game of the season, Rice was injured again and deemed out for the playoffs. Similarly, the team's offensive heart for the season, running back Garrison Hearst, had a broken collar bone through the post season and did not return to full health prior to the end of the season.

Despite not having either their leading receiver or their starting running back, the 49ers were able to make it to their 7th NFC championship in 10 years. However, not having an elite receiver or solid running back showed glaringly in their loss to the Packers in the conference championship (Hearst returned, but his injury was clearly still a problem as he only played a few ineffective snaps).

NFC Championship Game vs. Green Bay Packers

The 49ers and Packers meet for the 3rd year in a row in the playoffs, and for the 3rd year in a row, the Packers defeat the 49ers. The 49ers were battling multiple injuries in the game, including missing star wide receiver Jerry Rice. The lack of depth on offense showed throughout the game, as the offense generated just 3 points. The only touchdown of the game for the 49ers was when Chuck Levy returned a 95-yard kick off return for a touchdown. But by then, the Packers had a commanding 23-10 lead in the 4th quarter. With the loss, the 49ers finish the year at 14-4.

Awards and records

  • Steve Young, Led NFL, Passer Rating, 104.7 Rating [2]


  1. ^ "Organization". 1997 San Francisco 49ers Media Guide. pp. 5–23.
  2. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 450

External links

Game information
Game information
Key figures
Division championships (19)
Conference championships (6)
League championships (5)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Former league affiliation
Seasons (73)

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