1997 Denver Broncos season

Last updated
1997 Denver Broncos season
Denver Broncos wordmark.svg
Owner Pat Bowlen
President Pat Bowlen
Head coach Mike Shanahan
General managerJohn Beake
Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak
Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson
Home field Mile High Stadium
Results
Record12–4
Division place2nd AFC West
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs (vs. Jaguars) 42–17
Won Divisional Playoffs (at Chiefs) 14–10
Won AFC Championship (at Steelers) 24–21
Won Super Bowl XXXII (vs. Packers) 31–24
Pro Bowlers QB John Elway
RB Terrell Davis
TE Shannon Sharpe
C Tom Nalen
Uniform
Broncos uniforms.png

The 1997 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 28th season in the National Football League, and the 38th overall. The Broncos finished the season with a record of 12–4, finishing second in the AFC West, and winning Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos were the second wild card team since the 1970 merger to win a Super Bowl, joining the 1980 Oakland Raiders.

Contents

The 1997 season saw the new addition of the Denver Broncos' newest wordmark and logo. Their default colors were navy blue pants, navy blue pants and orange shoes. [1] [2] This would continue until 2012 when they assigned the all blue to the "Main alternate" slot, replacing the primary uniforms with orange tops, white bottoms and orange/white shoes.

Offseason

NFL draft

1997 Denver Broncos draft
RoundPickPlayerPositionCollegeNotes
128 Trevor Pryce  *  Defensive tackle Clemson
367 Dan Neil   Guard Texas
4124Cory Gilliard  Cornerback Ball State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Season summary

Having lost a disappointing playoff game to Jacksonville the year before, many thought this might be John Elway's last chance to win a Super Bowl. They started off the season by winning their first six games, beating the Chiefs, Seahawks, Rams, Bengals, Falcons and Patriots in the first game between the last two unbeaten NFL teams since 1973. [3] They then lost to the Raiders, then defeated the Bills, Seahawks, and Panthers. They then lost to the Chiefs, beat the Raiders and the Chargers, lost to the Steelers and the 49ers, but finished the season with a win against the Chargers.

They made the playoffs as a wildcard and advanced against the Jaguars and Chiefs and defeated the Steelers in the 1997 AFC Championship Game. They then won Super Bowl XXXII against the Packers 31–24, only the second team since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 to ever win a Super Bowl as a wildcard, and the first AFC team to win the title since the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII following the 1983 season. The win was a big morale boost to Denver and the Broncos, who had suffered through four previous Super Bowl losses, and especially Elway, who had led three of those defeats.

The 1997 Broncos were tenth in the league in total passing yards with 3704 and fourth in the league in total rushing yards with 2378. They finished with 6082 total yards, first in the NFL. They were fourth in total yards given up with 4969. They were also first in total points scored with 472. They were seventh in total points allowed with 287.

The team's 12–4 record is currently their fifth-best 16-game season in franchise history.

During the season John Elway threw for 3635 yards and Terrell Davis rushed for 1750 yards. Rod Smith had 70 receptions for 1180 yards and Ed McCaffrey had 45 receptions for 590 yards. Tight end Shannon Sharpe has 72 receptions for 1107 yards. Kicker Jason Elam kicked 26 field goals out of 36 attempted. Davis, Elway, Tom Nalen, Sharpe, and Neil Smith made the Pro Bowl.

Personnel

Staff

1997 Denver Broncos staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

Roster

1997 Denver Broncos roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics

[4]

Schedule

WeekDateOpponentResultTV Time (MT)TV AnnouncersGame siteRecordAttendance
1August 31, 1997 Kansas City Chiefs W 19–3NBC 2:00pm Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Mile High Stadium1–0
75,600
2September 7, 1997at Seattle Seahawks W 35–14NBC 2:00pmDick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Kingdome 2–0
55,859
3September 14, 1997 St. Louis Rams W 35–14FOX 2:00pm Sam Rosen & Bill Maas Mile High Stadium3–0
74,338
4September 21, 1997 Cincinnati Bengals W 38–20NBC 2:00pm Charlie Jones & Randy Cross Mile High Stadium4–0
73,871
5September 28, 1997at Atlanta Falcons W 29–21NBC 11:00am Charlie Jones & Bob Trumpy Georgia Dome 5–0
48,211
6October 6, 1997 New England Patriots W 34–13ABC 7:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf Mile High Stadium6–0
75,821
7 Bye week
8October 19, 1997at Oakland Raiders L 25–28NBC 2:00pm Tom Hammond & Randy Cross Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum 6–1
57,006
9October 26, 1997at Buffalo Bills W 23–20 (OT)NBC 11:00amTom Hammond & Randy Cross Rich Stadium 7–1
78,458
10November 2, 1997 Seattle Seahawks W 30–27NBC 2:00pmTom Hammond & Randy CrossMile High Stadium8–1
74,212
11November 9, 1997 Carolina Panthers W 34–0FOX 2:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden Mile High Stadium9–1
71,408
12November 16, 1997at Kansas City Chiefs L 22–24NBC 11:00amDick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Arrowhead Stadium 9–2
77,963
13November 24, 1997 Oakland Raiders W 31–3ABC 7:00pmAl Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan DierdorfMile High Stadium10–2
75,307
14November 30, 1997at San Diego Chargers W 38–28ESPN 6:00pm Mike Patrick & Joe Theismann Qualcomm Stadium 11–2
54,245
15December 7, 1997at Pittsburgh Steelers L 24–35NBC 11:00amDick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Three Rivers Stadium 11–3
59,739
16December 15, 1997at San Francisco 49ers L 17–34ABC 7:00pmAl Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf 3Com Park 11–4
68,461
17December 21, 1997 San Diego Chargers W 38–3NBC 2:00pm Mike Breen & James Lofton Mile High Stadium12–4
69,632

Game summaries

Week 1

1234Total
Chiefs00303
Broncos3601019
  • Date: August 31
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MDT
  • Referee: Ed Hochuli
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, and Phil Simms

Week 2

1234Total
Broncos10315735
Seahawks0140014
  • Date: September 7
  • Location: Kingdome
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MDT
  • Referee: Phil Luckett
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, and Phil Simms

Week 3

1234Total
Rams700714
Broncos7771435
  • Date: September 14
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MDT
  • TV announcers (FOX): Sam Rosen and Bill Maas

Week 4

1234Total
Bengals7010320
Broncos01471738
  • Date: September 21
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MDT
  • Referee: Mike Carey
  • TV announcers (NBC): Charlie Jones and Randy Cross

Week 5

1234Total
Broncos1586029
Falcons077721
  • Date: September 28
  • Location: Georgia Dome
  • Game start: 11:00 am MDT
  • Referee: Dick Hantak
  • TV announcers (NBC): Charlie Jones and Bob Trumpy

Week 6

1234Total
Patriots0130013
Broncos14017334
  • Date: October 6
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 7:00 pm MDT
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (ABC): Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf

Week 8

1234Total
Broncos737825
Raiders777728

Week 9

1234OTTotal
Broncos010100323
Bills00200020
  • Date: October 26
  • Location: Rich Stadium
  • Game start: 11:00 am MDT
  • Referee: Ron Blum
  • TV announcers (NBC): Tom Hammond and Randy Cross

Week 10

1234Total
Seahawks3710727
Broncos31014330
  • Date: November 2
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MST
  • Referee: Tom White
  • TV announcers (NBC): Tom Hammond and Randy Cross

Week 11

1234Total
Panthers00000
Broncos14310734
  • Date: November 9
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MST
  • Referee: Johnny Grier
  • TV announcers (Fox): Pat Summerall and John Madden

Week 12

1234Total
Broncos3103622
Chiefs0147324
  • Date: November 16
  • Location: Arrowhead Stadium
  • Game start: 11:00 am MST
  • Referee: Bill Carollo
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire and Phil Simms

Week 13

1234Total
Raiders03003
Broncos01417031
  • Date: November 24
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 7:00 pm MST
  • Referee: Mike Carey
  • TV announcers (ABC): Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf

Week 14

1234Total
Broncos7217338
Chargers0771428
  • Date: November 30
  • Location: Qualcomm Stadium
  • Game start: 6:00 pm MST
  • Referee: Gerald Austin
  • TV announcers (ESPN): Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann

Week 15

1234Total
Broncos1473024
Steelers7147735
  • Date: December 7
  • Location: Three Rivers Stadium
  • Game start: 11:00 am MST
  • Referee: Walt Coleman
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire and Phil Simms

Week 16

1234Total
Broncos1007017
49ers014101034
  • Date: December 15
  • Location: Candlestick Park
  • Game start: 7:00 pm MST
  • Referee: Phil Luckett
  • TV announcers (ABC): Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf

Week 17

1234Total
Chargers30003
Broncos0247738
  • Date: December 21
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Game start: 2:00 pm MST
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (NBC): Mike Breen and James Lofton

Standings

AFC West
WLTPCTPFPASTK
(1) Kansas City Chiefs 1330.813375232W6
(4) Denver Broncos 1240.750472287W1
Seattle Seahawks 880.500365362W2
Oakland Raiders 4120.250324419L5
San Diego Chargers 4120.250266425L8

Playoffs

RoundDateOpponentResultTV Time (MT)TV AnnouncersGame siteAttendance
Wild Card Playoffs December 27, 1997 Jacksonville Jaguars W 42–17ABC 2:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf Mile High Stadium
74,481
Divisional Playoffs January 4, 1998at Kansas City Chiefs W 14–10NBC 2:00pm Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Arrowhead Stadium
76,695
AFC Championship January 11, 1998at Pittsburgh Steelers W 24–21NBC 10:30amDick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Three Rivers Stadium
61,382
Super Bowl XXXII January 25, 1998N Green Bay Packers W 31–24NBC 4:30pmDick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms Qualcomm Stadium
68,912

Wild Card

1234Total
Jaguars0710017
Broncos14702142
  • Date: December 27
  • Location: Mile High Stadium
  • Referee: Bernie Kukar
  • TV announcers (ABC): Frank Gifford, Al Michaels, and Dan Dierdorf

In the 1997 AFC Wildcard Playoff weekend, the Broncos were paired against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos viewed this game as a chance to avenge the previous season's Divisional Playoff loss of 30-27 to the Jaguars, an early exit in a year the Broncos were favored to win the Super Bowl. Ultimately, 21 unanswered 4th quarter points saw the Broncos seize the win and a playoff berth against the Division Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Divisional

1234Total
Broncos070714
Chiefs0010010
  • Date: January 4
  • Location: Arrowhead Stadium
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, and Phil Simms

AFC Championship Game

1234Total
Broncos7170024
Steelers770721
  • Date: January 11
  • Location: Three Rivers Stadium
  • Referee: Ron Blum
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, and Phil Simms

Super Bowl

1234Total
Packers773724
Broncos7107731
  • Date: January 25
  • Location: Qualcomm Stadium
  • Game start: 4:30 pm MST
  • Referee: Ed Hochuli
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Phil Simms and Paul Maguire

Awards and records

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References

  1. "New uniforms for a new era". History.DenverBroncos.com. February 4, 1997. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  2. "Broncos Directory" (PDF). 1997 Denver Broncos Media Guide. NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  3. "Last Undefeated NFL Teams in Each Season". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  4. "1997 Denver Broncos starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  5. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN   0-7611-2480-2, p. 44