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1997 NFL season: Map

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The 1997 NFL season was the 78th regular season of the National Football League. The Oilers relocated from Houston, Texasmarker to Nashville, Tennesseemarker. The newly-renamed Tennessee Oilers played their home games during this season at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadiummarker in Memphis, Tennesseemarker while a new stadium in Nashville began construction.

This was the last season that both NBC and the TNT network held rights to broadcast NFL games. 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.

Due to Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, the Chicago BearsMiami Dolphins game at Pro Player Stadiummarker was moved back 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.

1997 NFL Season Changes

Stadiums



Uniforms



1997 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 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 AgainstClinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green
AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(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
Buffalo Bills 6 10 0 .375 255 367
Indianapolis Colts 3 13 0 .188 313 401
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(2) Pittsburgh Steelers 11 5 0 .688 372 307
(5) Jacksonville Jaguars 11 5 0 .688 394 318
Tennessee Oilers 8 8 0 .500 333 310
Cincinnati Bengals 7 9 0 .438 355 405
Baltimore Ravens 6 9 1 .406 326 345
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(1) Kansas City Chiefs 13 3 0 .813 375 232
(4) Denver Broncos 12 4 0 .750 472 287
Seattle Seahawks 8 8 0 .500 365 362
Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 324 419
San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 .250 266 425
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(3) New York Giants 10 5 1 .656 307 265
Washington Redskins 8 7 1 .531 327 289
Philadelphia Eagles 6 9 1 .406 317 372
Dallas Cowboys 6 10 0 .375 304 314
Arizona Cardinals 4 12 0 .250 283 379
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(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
Chicago Bears 4 12 0 .250 263 421
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(1) San Francisco 49ers 13 3 0 .813 375 265
Carolina Panthers 7 9 0 .438 265 314
Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0 .438 320 361
New Orleans Saints 6 10 0 .375 237 327
St. Louis Rams 5 11 0 .313 299 359



Tiebreakers

  • 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).


Playoffs

Home team in capitals

AFC

NFC

  • 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 Parkmarker, San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker, January 11, 1998

Super Bowl



Statistical leaders

Team

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)


Individual

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)


Awards

Most Valuable Player 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


References




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