|1997 Green Bay Packers season|
|Owner||Green Bay Packers, Inc.|
|General manager||Ron Wolf|
|Head coach||Mike Holmgren|
|Home field||Lambeau Field|
|Division place||1st NFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs|
(vs. Buccaneers) 21–7
Won NFC Championship
(at 49ers) 23–10
Lost Super Bowl XXXII
(vs. Broncos) 24–31
|Pro Bowlers||QB Brett Favre|
ST Dorsey Levens
TE Mark Chmura
SS LeRoy Butler
The 1997 Green Bay Packers season was their 79th season overall and their 77th in the National Football League (NFL). The season concluded with the team winning its second consecutive NFC championship, but losing 31-24 to John Elway's Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. The heavily-favored team narrowly missed its opportunity to post back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
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 111⁄2-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 blowout losses in their four previous Super Bowls appearances. 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 is the first and only player in the history of the award to win three MVPs consecutively. The Packers became the first team to have six NFL MVP award winners.
The 1997 Packers are one of only two teams in NFL history to win seven games against teams that would go on to make the playoffs.
Main article: 1997 NFL draft
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.
|2||60||Darren Sharper||FS||William & Mary|
|3||90||Brett Conway||K||Penn State|
|7||213||Chris Miller||WR||Southern California|
|7||231||Terrance Lucas||CB||Montana State|
Ronnie McAda was Mr. Irrelevant.
|Randy Kinder||Running back||Notre Dame|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1997 Green Bay Packers roster|
Rookies and first-year players in italics
|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|
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.
|1||September 1||Chicago Bears||W 38–24||1–0||Lambeau Field||60,766|
|2||September 7||at Philadelphia Eagles||L 9–10||1–1||Veterans Stadium||66,803|
|3||September 14||Miami Dolphins||W 23–18||2–1||Lambeau Field||60,075|
|4||September 21||Minnesota Vikings||W 38–32||3–1||Lambeau Field||60,115|
|5||September 28||at Detroit Lions||L 15–26||3–2||Pontiac Silverdome||78,110|
|6||October 5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 21–16||4–2||Lambeau Field||60,100|
|7||October 12||at Chicago Bears||W 24–23||5–2||Soldier Field||62,212|
|9||October 27||at New England Patriots||W 28–10||6–2||Foxboro Stadium||59,972|
|10||November 2||Detroit Lions||W 20–10||7–2||Lambeau Field||60,126|
|11||November 6||St. Louis Rams||W 17–7||8–2||Lambeau Field||60,093|
|12||November 16||at Indianapolis Colts||L 38–41||8–3||RCA Dome||60,928|
|13||November 23||Dallas Cowboys||W 45–17||9–3||Lambeau Field||60,111|
|14||December 1||at Minnesota Vikings||W 27–11||10–3||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||64,001|
|15||December 7||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 17–6||11–3||Houlihan's Stadium||73,523|
|16||December 14||at Carolina Panthers||W 31–10||12–3||Ericsson Stadium||70,887|
|17||December 20||Buffalo Bills||W 31–21||13–3||Lambeau Field||60,108|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
The Packers suffered a shocking loss to the 0–10 Indianapolis Colts, but did not lose another game until the Super Bowl.
|(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|
|Wild Card||First-round bye|
|NFC Divisional Playoff||January 4, 1998||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)||W 21–7||1–0||Lambeau Field||60,327|
|NFC Championship Game||January 11, 1998||San Francisco 49ers (1)||W 23–10||2–0||Candlestick Park||68,987|
|Super Bowl XXXII||January 25, 1998||Denver Broncos (A4)||L 31–24||2–1||Qualcomm Stadium||68,912|
at Lambeau Field
at 3Com Park
at Qualcomm Stadium
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.