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1997 San Francisco 49ers season: Map


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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 1990’s.


NFL Draft

Regular season

The 49ers opened the 1997 season with high hopes. With new coach Steve Mariucci and half back 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 the greatest disaster the 49ers could have imagined occurred: 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 and considered retirement.

However, Young eventually came back, as did Rice for one and a half 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
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
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



Towards the end of the season things appeared to be going well for the 49er's postseason prospects. However, in the second to last game of the season Jerry 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 didn't 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 Divisional Playoff - January 3, 1998 (Sat)

  • San Francisco 49ers 38, Minnesota Vikings 22

at Candlestick Parkmarker, San Francisco, CAmarker

NFC Championship Game - January 11, 1998

  • Green Bay Packers 23, San Francisco 49ers 10

at Candlestick Parkmarker, San Francisco, CAmarker

Awards and records

  • Steve Young, Led NFL, Passer Rating, 104.7 Rating



  1. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 450

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