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The 1997 Buffalo Bills season was their 38th in the league. The team failed to improve upon their previous season's output of 10–6, instead falling to 6–10.[1] They missed the playoffs for only the second time in ten seasons. 1997 was Hall of Fame head coach Marv Levy's final year as the team's head coach.

1997 Buffalo Bills season
Head coachMarv Levy
General managerJohn Butler
OwnerRalph Wilson
Home fieldRich Stadium
Results
Record6–10
Division place4th AFC East
Playoff finishdid not qualify

Todd Collins started at quarterback for the Bills in their first season in the post-Jim Kelly era. The Bills also signed Oakland's Billy Joe Hobert to challenge Collins for the starting job. Third-string quarterback Alex Van Pelt also saw playing time with three starts in Collins' absence.

Hobert's contract was terminated after Week Seven, in which Hobert was backing up an injured Collins, and after the game revealed to the media that he had not studied the playbook. Hobert was released the next day.[2]

One of the most memorable games in Buffalo Bills history occurred in Week Four against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts roared to a 26–0 lead in the second quarter, before the Bills went on a 37–3 run, ultimately taking the lead 37–29 with 1:15 remaining in the game. The Colts closed to within two, but missed a two-point conversion, giving Buffalo a two-point victory.[3] The game was the second-greatest regular season comeback in NFL history (second only to a 28-point comeback by the 1980 49ers), and the second greatest in team history (second to "The Comeback" in the 1992 playoffs.)[4]

OffseasonEdit

Prior to the 1997 season, long-time quarterback (and future Hall of Famer) Jim Kelly announced his retirement from professional football. This left the Bills forced to find a different opening day starting quarterback for the first time since 1985. Third-year quarterback Todd Collins started the season, and the Bills signed former Raiders quarterback Billy Joe Hobert, whose contract was terminated after a Week Seven loss to New England.

NFL DraftEdit

= Pro Bowler [5]

One notable player that was not drafted by the Bills, but debuted for the team in 1997, was future Pro Bowl defensive tackle Pat Williams, who played with the team for eight seasons.

Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team
1 23 Antowain Smith Running back Houston
2 52 Marcellus Wiley[6] Defensive end Columbia
4 120 Jamie Nails Offensive lineman Florida A&M
5 153 Sean Woodson Defensive back Jackson State
6 185 Marcus Spriggs Guard Houston
7 226 Pat Fitzgerald Tight end Texas

RosterEdit

1997 Buffalo Bills roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad



Rookies in italics

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result TV Time(ET) TV Announcers Attendance
1 August 31, 1997 Minnesota Vikings L 34–13 1:00pm FOX Eric Clemons & Trevor Matich
79,139
2 September 7, 1997 at New York Jets W 28–22 1:00pm NBC Marv Albert & Randy Cross
72,988
3 September 14, 1997 at Kansas City Chiefs L 22–16 1:00pm NBC Mike Breen & James Lofton
78,169
4 September 21, 1997 Indianapolis Colts W 37–35 4:00pm NBC Tom Hammond & Jim Kelly
55,340
5 Bye
6 October 5, 1997 Detroit Lions W 22–13 1:00pm FOX Paul Kennedy & Jerry Glanville
78,025
7 October 12, 1997 at New England Patriots L 33–6 1:00pm NBC Tom Hammond, Randy Cross & Jim Kelly
59,802
8 October 20, 1997 at Indianapolis Colts W 9–6 9:00pm ABC Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
61,139
9 October 26, 1997 Denver Broncos L 23–20 1:00pm NBC Tom Hammond & Jim Kelly
78,458
10 November 2, 1997 Miami Dolphins W 9–6 1:00pm NBC Dan Hicks, Paul Maguire & Jim Kelly
78,011
11 November 9, 1997 New England Patriots L 31–10 4:00pm NBC Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms
65,783
12 November 17, 1997 at Miami Dolphins L 30–13 9:00pm ABC Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
74,155
13 November 23, 1997 at Tennessee Oilers L 31–14 1:00pm NBC Joel Meyers & Beasley Reece
23,571
14 November 30, 1997 New York Jets W 20–10 1:00pm NBC Tom Hammond & Randy Cross
47,776
15 December 7, 1997 at Chicago Bears L 20–3 1:00pm NBC Don Criqui & Jim Mora
39,784
16 December 14, 1997 Jacksonville Jaguars L 20–14 1:00pm NBC Joel Meyers, Paul Maguire & Jim Kelly
41,231
17 December 20, 1997 at Green Bay Packers L 31–21 12:30pm NBC Tom Hammond & Randy Cross
60,108

Game summariesEdit

Week 2Edit

1 234Total
• Bills 0 1477 28
Jets 3 1063 22

[7]

StandingsEdit

AFC East
W L T PCT PF PA STK
(3) New England Patriots 10 6 0 .625 369 289 W1
(6) Miami Dolphins 9 7 0 .563 339 327 L2
New York Jets 9 7 0 .563 348 287 L1
Buffalo Bills 6 10 0 .375 255 367 L3
Indianapolis Colts 3 13 0 .188 313 401 L1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1997 Buffalo Bills
  2. ^ David Fleming, Breaking down the Bills' QB situation ESPN.com, September 23, 2010, "the infamous Billy Joe Hobert who promptly threw a pick on his first pass leading to a 33–6 blowout loss, after which Billy Joe admitted (awesomely, I might add) that he hadn't actually, you know, opened his playbook that week" | retrieved January 9, 2012
  3. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: Indianapolis Colts 35 at Buffalo Bills 37, Sunday, September 21, 1997
  4. ^ YouTube: Buffalo Bills NFL Primetime 8
  5. ^ Players are identified as a Pro Bowler if they were selected for the Pro-Bowl at any time in their career.
  6. ^ Made Pro Bowl with San Diego in 2001
  7. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com