|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|
The 1997 NFL season was the 78th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). 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.
Due to Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, the Chicago Bears–Miami Dolphins game at Pro Player Stadium was delayed one day to Monday, October 27.
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 (NFC)'s streak of thirteen consecutive Super Bowl victories, the last American Football Conference (AFC) win having been the Los Angeles Raiders defeating the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.
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.
Red Cashion and Howard Roe retired. Bill Carollo and Phil Luckett were promoted to referee.
A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States. Three were contested in 1997, including the defending Super Bowl XXXI champion Green Bay Packers competing in Toronto.
|Date||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team||Score||Stadium||City|
|July 27, 1997||Pittsburgh Steelers||30||Chicago Bears||17||Croke Park||Dublin|
|August 4, 1997||Miami Dolphins||38||Denver Broncos||19||Estadio Guillermo Cañedo||Mexico City|
|August 16, 1997||Green Bay Packers||35||Buffalo Bills||3||SkyDome||Toronto|
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, in which the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28–26, was played on July 26, and held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded. The 1997 Hall of Fame Class included Mike Haynes, Wellington Mara, Don Shula and Mike Webster.
Highlights of the 1997 season included:
|Dec 28 – Houlihan's Stadium||Jan 4 – Lambeau Field|
|4||Tampa Bay||20||Jan 11 – 3Com Park|
|Dec 27 – Giants Stadium||2||Green Bay||23|
|Jan 3 – 3Com Park|
|3||NY Giants||22||Jan 25 – Qualcomm Stadium|
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Dec 27 – Mile High Stadium||N2||Green Bay||24|
|Jan 4 – Arrowhead Stadium|
|5||Jacksonville||17||Super Bowl XXXII|
|4||Denver||42||Jan 11 – Three Rivers Stadium|
|Dec 28 – Foxboro Stadium||4||Denver||24|
|Jan 3 – Three Rivers Stadium|
|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 yards||Barry Sanders, Detroit, (2,053 yards)|
|Passer rating||Steve Young, San Francisco (104.7 rating)|
|Passing yards||Jeff George, Oakland (3,917 yards)|
|Passing touchdowns||Brett Favre, Green Bay (35 TDs)|
|Receptions||Tim Brown, Oakland and Herman Moore, Detroit (104 catches)|
|Receiving yards||Rob Moore, Arizona (1,584)|
|Receiving touchdowns||Cris Carter, Minnesota (13)|
|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|
|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|
|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|
This was the fourth and final year under the league's four-year broadcast contracts with ABC, Fox, NBC, TNT, and ESPN. ABC, Fox, and NBC continued to televise Monday Night Football , the NFC package, the AFC package, respectively. Sunday night games aired on TNT during the first half of the season, and ESPN during the second half of the season. This was the last season to date that TNT broadcast NFL games, as well as the last for NBC until 2006. When the new TV contracts were signed near the end of the season, Fox retained the NFC package, CBS took over the AFC package, and ESPN won the right to televise all of the Sunday night games.
With Mike Ditka becoming the new head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sam Wyche was named to replace him on The NFL on NBC pregame show. NBC fired Marv Albert following Week 3 due to sexual assault charges against him; Tom Hammond replaced Albert as the network's #2 play-by-play announcer.
For TNT's final season, Mark May joined Verne Lundquist and Pat Haden in a three-man booth.
The 2004 NFL season was the 85th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).
The 2002 NFL season was the 83rd regular season of the National Football League (NFL).
The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).
The 1999 NFL season was the 80th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). The Cleveland Browns returned to the field for the first time since the 1995 season, while the Tennessee Oilers changed their name to "Tennessee Titans", with the league retiring the name "Oilers".
The 2000 NFL season was the 81st regular season of the National Football League (NFL). The season ended with Super Bowl XXXV when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants, 34–7, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The 1998 NFL season was the 79th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). The season culminated with Super Bowl XXXIII, with the Denver Broncos defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34–19 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami. The Broncos had won their first thirteen games, the best start since the undefeated 1972 Dolphins, and were tipped by some to have a realistic chance at winning all nineteen games. The Minnesota Vikings became the first team since the 1968 Baltimore Colts to win all but one of their regular season games and not win the Super Bowl. After no team had won 14 regular season games since the 1992 49ers, three teams went 14–2 or better for the only time in a 16-game season.
The 1996 NFL season was the 77th regular season of the National Football League (NFL) and the season was marked by notable controversies from beginning to end. Most significantly, the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy resulted in a then-unique legal settlement where the Cleveland Browns franchise, history, records, and intellectual property remained in Cleveland, while its players and personnel transferred to Baltimore, technically to a new league franchise that was named the Baltimore Ravens.
The 1995 NFL season was the 76th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). The league expanded to 30 teams with the addition of the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two expansion teams were slotted into the two remaining divisions that previously had only four teams : the AFC Central (Jaguars) and the NFC West (Panthers).
The 1994 NFL season was the 75th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). To honor the NFL's 75th season, a special anniversary logo was designed and each player wore a patch on their jerseys with this logo throughout the season. Also, a selection committee of media and league personnel named a special NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, honoring the best NFL players from the first 75 seasons.
The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Phoenix, Arizona, area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division. The playoff races came down to the regular season's final week, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the AFC West by one game, and the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers winning their respective divisions in a five-way tie, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants losing the NFC Wild Card berth to the Los Angeles Rams on tiebreakers.
The 1986 NFL season was the 67th regular season of the National Football League. Defending Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears shared the league’s best record with the Giants at 14–2, with the Giants claiming the spot in the NFC by tiebreakers. In the AFC, the Cleveland Browns earned home-field advantage with a record of 12–4, and they hosted the New York Jets in round one of the AFC playoffs. The Jets had started the season at 10–1 before losing their final five contests. The game went to double OT, with the Browns finally prevailing 23–20. The following Sunday, John Elway and the Denver Broncos defeated the Browns by an identical score in a game known for The Drive, where Elway drove his team 98 yards to send the game to overtime to win. The Giants would defeat their rival Washington Redskins in the NFC title game, blanking them 17–0 to advance to their first Super Bowl. The season ended with Super Bowl XXI when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39–20 at the Rose Bowl to win their first league title in 30 years.
The 1984 NFL season was the 65th regular season of the National Football League. The Colts relocated from Baltimore, Maryland to Indianapolis, Indiana before the season.
The 1981 NFL season was the 62nd regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XVI when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26–21 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan.
The 1980 NFL season was the 61st regular season of the National Football League.
The 1978 NFL season was the 59th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season from a 14-game schedule to 16 games, which it remained in place until 2021 when it was increased to 17 games. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 8 teams to 10 teams by adding another wild card from each conference. The wild card teams played each other, with the winner advancing to the playoff round of eight teams.
The 1976 NFL season was the 57th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded to 28 teams with the addition of Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This fulfilled one of the conditions agreed to in 1966 for the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, which called for the league to expand to 28 teams by 1970 or soon thereafter.
The 1975 NFL season was the 56th regular season of the National Football League.
The 1973 NFL season was the 54th regular season of the National Football League. The season was highlighted by O. J. Simpson becoming the first player to rush for 2,000 yards in one season.
The 1972 NFL season was the 53rd regular season of the National Football League. The Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to finish a championship season undefeated and untied when they beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins not only led the NFL in points scored, while their defense led the league in fewest points allowed, the roster also featured two running backs who gained 1,000 rushing yards in the same season.
The 1970 NFL season was the 51st regular season of the National Football League, and the first after the consummation of the AFL–NFL merger. The merged league realigned into two conferences: all ten of the American Football League (AFL) teams joined the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers to form the American Football Conference (AFC); the other thirteen NFL clubs formed the National Football Conference (NFC).