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The 1997 Green Bay Packers season was their 79th season overall and their 77th in the National Football League. The season concluded with the team winning its second consecutive NFC championship, but losing in a 31–24 upset to John Elway's Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII.[1] The team narrowly missed its opportunity to post back-to-back Super Bowl wins.

1997 Green Bay Packers season
Head coachMike Holmgren
General managerRon Wolf
Home fieldLambeau Field
Results
Record13–3
Division place1st NFC Central
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (Buccaneers) 21–7
Won Conference Championship (49ers) 23–10
Lost Super Bowl XXXII (Broncos) 24–31

After a dominating 1996 campaign which ended with a victory in Super Bowl XXXI, many expected the Packers to repeat as champions in 1997. During training camp, star safety LeRoy Butler, among others, said that the Packers had the chance to run the table and go 19–0. This opinion drew increased coverage from the media as the Packers notched impressive victories in all five preseason games. The undefeated hype ended quickly, however, when Green Bay lost week 2 in Philadelphia.

Following a relatively slow 3–2 start, the Packers caught fire in the second half of the season, finishing with a 13–3 regular season record and 8–0 home record for the second consecutive year. In the playoffs, Green Bay defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field in the divisional round, and San Francisco 49ers at 3Com Park in the NFC Championship. Some in the media dubbed the NFC title game as "the real Super Bowl" because of the 49ers' and Packers' league dominance, and the relative inferiority of the AFC in recent Super Bowls. Green Bay's win marked the third consecutive year the team had defeated San Francisco in the playoffs.

The Packers entered Super Bowl XXXII as 11 1/2-point favorites. The point spread was likely determined by Green Bay's victory in the previous Super Bowl, the AFC's string of 13 consecutive Super Bowl losses, and Denver's losses in four previous Super Bowls. The game itself was a seesaw battle, and one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history. The Broncos won the thriller 31–24, earning John Elway his first Super Bowl victory at the age of 37, and the first championship in franchise history. Years later, Brett Favre said the Broncos were far underrated, and credited Denver's innovative blitz packages and strategies, foreign to the league at that time, for confusing the Packers.

Packers' quarterback Brett Favre was named the league's MVP for the third year in a row in 1997. Favre was the first player in the history of the award to win three MVPs, and remains the only player to have won three MVPs consecutively.[2] The Packers became the first team to have six NFL MVP award winners.[3]

The 1997 Packers are one of only two teams in NFL history[4] to win seven games against teams that would go on to make the playoffs.[5]

Contents

OffseasonEdit

1997 NFL draftEdit

Despite picking last in the 1997 NFL draft, the Packers did well, picking up future all-pro tackle Ross Verba and free safety Darren Sharper.[6]

1997 NFL Draft selections
Round Sel# Player Pos. College
1 30 Ross Verba T Iowa
2 60 Darren Sharper FS William & Mary
3 90 Brett Conway K Penn State
4 126 Jermaine Smith DT Georgia
5 160 Anthony Hicks LB Arkansas
7 213 Chris Miller WR Southern California
7 231 Terrance Lucas CB Montana State
7 240 Ronnie McAda QB Army

Ronnie McAda was Mr. Irrelevant.

Undrafted free agentsEdit

1997 Undrafted Free Agents of note
Player Position College
Randy Kinder Running back Notre Dame

StaffEdit

1997 Green Bay Packers staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

[7][8]

RosterEdit

1997 Green Bay Packers roster
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Rookies and first-year players in italics

ScheduleEdit

PreseasonEdit

Date Opponent Result Game site Record Attendance
August 1, 1997 Miami Dolphins W 20–0 Lambeau Field 1–0
59,089
August 8, 1997 New England Patriots W 7–3 Lambeau Field 2–0
60,778
August 16, 1997 at Oakland Raiders W 37–24 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum 3–0
42,956
August 24, 1997 at Buffalo Bills W 35–3 SkyDome 4–0
53,896
August 28, 1997 New York Giants W 22–17 Camp Randall Stadium 5–0
76,704

Regular seasonEdit

The Packers finished the 1997 regular season with a 13–3 record, clinching first place in the NFC Central division, as well as a first-round playoff bye.[9]

Week Date Opponent Result Game site Record TV Time (CT) TV Announcers Attendance
1 September 1, 1997 Chicago Bears W 38–24 Lambeau Field 1–0 ABC 8:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
60,766
2 September 7, 1997 at Philadelphia Eagles L 9–10 Veterans Stadium 1–1 FOX 3:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
66,803
3 September 14, 1997 Miami Dolphins W 23–18 Lambeau Field 2–1 NBC 12:00pm Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms
60,075
4 September 21, 1997 Minnesota Vikings W 38–32 Lambeau Field 3–1 FOX 12:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
60,115
5 September 28, 1997 at Detroit Lions L 15–26 Pontiac Silverdome 3–2 FOX 12:00pm Dick Stockton & Matt Millen
78,110
6 October 5, 1997 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 21–16 Lambeau Field 4–2 FOX 12:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
60,100
7 October 12, 1997 at Chicago Bears W 24–23 Soldier Field 5–2 FOX 12:00pm Kevin Harlan & Jerry Glanville
62,212
8 Bye
9 October 27, 1997 at New England Patriots W 28–10 Foxboro Stadium 6–2 ABC 8:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
59,972
10 November 2, 1997 Detroit Lions W 20–10 Lambeau Field 7–2 ESPN 7:00pm Mike Patrick & Joe Theismann
60,126
11 November 9, 1997 St. Louis Rams W 17–7 Lambeau Field 8–2 FOX 12:00pm Joe Buck & Bill Maas
60,093
12 November 16, 1997 at Indianapolis Colts L 38–41 RCA Dome 8–3 FOX 12:00pm Paul Kennedy & Bill Maas
60,928
13 November 23, 1997 Dallas Cowboys W 45–17 Lambeau Field 9–3 FOX 12:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
60,111
14 December 1, 1997 at Minnesota Vikings W 27–11 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 10–3 ABC 8:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
64,001
15 December 7, 1997 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 17–6 Houlihan's Stadium 11–3 FOX 12:00pm Dick Stockton & Matt Millen
73,523
16 December 14, 1997 at Carolina Panthers W 31–10 Ericsson Stadium 12–3 FOX 3:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
70,887
17 December 20, 1997 Buffalo Bills W 31–21 Lambeau Field 13–3 NBC 11:30am Tom Hammond & Randy Cross
60,108

Game summariesEdit

Week 1Edit

1 234Total
Bears 0 11013 24
• Packers 3 15614 38

[10]

Week 7Edit

1 234Total
• Packers 0 1473 24
Bears 10 076 23
  • Date: October 12
  • Location: Soldier Field, Chicago
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 62,212
  • Game weather: 68°F; wind 15
  • Television network: Fox

[11]

Week 12Edit

The Packers suffered a shocking loss to the 0–10 Indianapolis Colts, but did not lose another game until the Super Bowl.

StandingsEdit

NFC Central
W L T PCT PF PA STK
(2) Green Bay Packers 13 3 0 .813 422 282 W5
(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 6 0 .625 299 263 W1
(5) Detroit Lions 9 7 0 .563 379 306 W2
(6) Minnesota Vikings 9 7 0 .563 354 359 W1
Chicago Bears 4 12 0 .250 263 421 L1

PlayoffsEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Game site TV Time Attendance
Divisional January 4, 1998 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 21–7 Lambeau Field FOX 12:00pm
60,327
NFC Championship January 11, 1998 at San Francisco 49ers W 23–10 3Com Park FOX 3:15pm
68,987
Super Bowl January 25, 1998 Denver Broncos L 24–31 Qualcomm Stadium NBC 5:15pm
68,912

NFC Divisional Game vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

NFC Divisional Game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Buccaneers 0 0 707
Packers 7 6 0821

at Lambeau Field

  • Date: January 4, 1998
  • Game time: 11:30 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 27 degrees, relative humidity 79%, wind 17 mph

NFC Championship Game at. San Francisco 49ersEdit

NFC Championship at San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Packers 3 10 01023
49ers 0 3 0710

at 3Com Park

  • Date: January 11, 1998
  • Game time: 1 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 54 degrees, relative humidity 90%, wind 10 mph

Super Bowl XXXII vs. Denver BroncosEdit

Super Bowl XXXII vs. Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Packers 7 7 3724
Broncos 7 10 7731

at Qualcomm Stadium

  • Date: January 25, 1998
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 59 degrees, relative humidity 79%, wind 6 mph

The Packers advanced to their fourth Super Bowl appearance, which was also their second consecutive appearance. Despite being favored by double digits, they were denied their fourth ring, as well as their second consecutive championship, by John Elway and the Denver Broncos, who defeated them 31–24. To date, the loss is the only Packers' Super Bowl loss in team history.

Awards and recordsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Super Bowl XXXII – Denver 31, Green Bay 24". Archived from the original on 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  2. ^ "List of APMVP winners". sportsline.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  3. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 400
  4. ^ 1998 Jets
  5. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1940 to 2011, in the regular season, team won game, in games against playoff teams only, only in games against teams with winning record for season, sorted by most games in season matching criteria.
  6. ^ "NFL Draft History – Green Bay Packers". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  7. ^ "Administration and Coaching Staff". Green Bay Packers 1997 Official Media Guide. pp. 6–37.
  8. ^ "All Time Coaches Database". Packers.com. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  9. ^ "1997 NFL Standings". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  10. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  11. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-Dec-14.