|1997 Denver Broncos season|
|Head coach||Mike Shanahan|
|General manager||John Beake|
|Home field||Mile High Stadium|
|Division place||2nd AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Won AFC Wild Card Playoffs (Jaguars) 42–17|
Won AFC Divisional Playoffs (at Chiefs) 14–10
Won AFC Championship (at Steelers) 24–21
Won Super Bowl XXXII (vs. Packers) 31–24
The 1997 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 28th season in the National Football League, and the 38th overall. The Broncos finished the season with a record of 12–4, finishing second in the AFC West, and winning Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos were the second team since the 1970 merger to win a Super Bowl (Oakland Raiders won in 1980) as a Wild Card team; the Kansas City Chiefs were an AFL wild card entrant who won the pre-merger Super Bowl IV in 1969.
This would continue until 2012 when they assigned the all blue to the "Main alternate" slot, replacing the primary uniforms with orange tops, white bottoms and orange/white shoes.
|1997 Denver Broncos draft|
|1||28||Trevor Pryce *||Defensive tackle||Clemson|
|4||124||Cory Gilliard||Cornerback||Ball State|
|Pro Bowl during careerMade roster Made at least one|
Having lost a disappointing playoff game to Jacksonville the year before, many thought this might be John Elway's last chance to win a Super Bowl. They started off the season by winning their first six games, beating the Chiefs, Seahawks, Rams, Bengals, Falcons and Patriots in the first game between the last two unbeaten NFL teams since 1973. They then lost to the Raiders, then defeated the Bills, Seahawks, and Panthers. They then lost to the Chiefs, beat the Raiders and the Chargers, lost to the Steelers and the 49ers, but finished the season with a win against the Chargers.
They made the playoffs as a wildcard and advanced against the Jaguars and Chiefs and defeated the Steelers in the 1997 AFC Championship Game. They then won Super Bowl XXXII against the Packers 31–24, only the second team since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 to ever win a Super Bowl as a wildcard, and the first AFC team to win the title since the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII following the 1983 season. The win was a big morale boost to Denver and the Broncos, who had suffered through four previous Super Bowl losses, and especially Elway, who had led three of those defeats.
The 1997 Broncos were tenth in the league in total passing yards with 3704 and fourth in the league in total rushing yards with 2378. They finished with 6082 total yards, first in the NFL. They were fourth in total yards given up with 4969. They were also first in total points scored with 472. They were seventh in total points allowed with 287.
The team's 12–4 record is currently their fifth-best 16-game season in franchise history.
During the season John Elway threw for 3635 yards and Terrell Davis rushed for 1750 yards. Rod Smith had 70 receptions for 1180 yards and Ed McCaffrey had 45 receptions for 590 yards. Tight end Shannon Sharpe has 72 receptions for 1107 yards. Kicker Jason Elam kicked 26 field goals out of 36 attempted. Davis, Elway, Tom Nalen, Sharpe, and Neil Smith made the Pro Bowl.
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|Week||Date||Opponent||Result||TV Time (MT)||TV Announcers||Game site||Record||Attendance|
|1||August 31, 1997||Kansas City Chiefs||W 19–3||NBC 2:00pm||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Mile High Stadium||1–0|
|2||September 7, 1997||at Seattle Seahawks||W 35–14||NBC 2:00pm||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Kingdome||2–0|
|3||September 14, 1997||St. Louis Rams||W 35–14||FOX 2:00pm||Sam Rosen & Bill Maas||Mile High Stadium||3–0|
|4||September 21, 1997||Cincinnati Bengals||W 38–20||NBC 2:00pm||Charlie Jones & Randy Cross||Mile High Stadium||4–0|
|5||September 28, 1997||at Atlanta Falcons||W 29–21||NBC 11:00am||Charlie Jones & Bob Trumpy||Georgia Dome||5–0|
|6||October 6, 1997||New England Patriots||W 34–13||ABC 7:00pm||Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf||Mile High Stadium||6–0|
|8||October 19, 1997||at Oakland Raiders||L 25–28||NBC 2:00pm||Tom Hammond & Randy Cross||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||6–1|
|9||October 26, 1997||at Buffalo Bills||W 23–20 (OT)||NBC 11:00am||Tom Hammond & Randy Cross||Rich Stadium||7–1|
|10||November 2, 1997||Seattle Seahawks||W 30–27||NBC 2:00pm||Tom Hammond & Randy Cross||Mile High Stadium||8–1|
|11||November 9, 1997||Carolina Panthers||W 34–0||FOX 2:00pm||Pat Summerall & John Madden||Mile High Stadium||9–1|
|12||November 16, 1997||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 22–24||NBC 11:00am||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Arrowhead Stadium||9–2|
|13||November 24, 1997||Oakland Raiders||W 31–3||ABC 7:00pm||Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf||Mile High Stadium||10–2|
|14||November 30, 1997||at San Diego Chargers||W 38–28||ESPN 6:00pm||Mike Patrick & Joe Theismann||Qualcomm Stadium||11–2|
|15||December 7, 1997||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 24–35||NBC 11:00am||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Three Rivers Stadium||11–3|
|16||December 15, 1997||at San Francisco 49ers||L 17–34||ABC 7:00pm||Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf||3Com Park||11–4|
|17||December 21, 1997||San Diego Chargers||W 38–3||NBC 2:00pm||Mike Breen & James Lofton||Mile High Stadium||12–4|
|(1) Kansas City Chiefs||13||3||0||.813||375||232||W6|
|(4) Denver Broncos||12||4||0||.750||472||287||W1|
|San Diego Chargers||4||12||0||.250||266||425||L8|
|Round||Date||Opponent||Result||TV Time (MT)||TV Announcers||Game site||Attendance|
|Wild Card Playoffs||December 27, 1997||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 42–17||ABC 2:00pm||Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf||Mile High Stadium|
|Divisional Playoffs||January 4, 1998||at Kansas City Chiefs||W 14–10||NBC 2:00pm||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Arrowhead Stadium|
|AFC Championship||January 11, 1998||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24–21||NBC 10:30am||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Three Rivers Stadium|
|Super Bowl XXXII||January 25, 1998||N Green Bay Packers||W 31–24||NBC 4:30pm||Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms||Qualcomm Stadium|
In the 1997 AFC Wildcard Playoff weekend, the Broncos were paired against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos viewed this game as a chance to avenge the previous season's Divisional Playoff loss of 30-27 to the Jaguars, an early exit in a year the Broncos were favored to win the Super Bowl. Ultimately, 21 unanswered 4th quarter points saw the Broncos seize the win and a playoff berth against the Division Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
AFC Championship Game
Awards and records
- Terrell Davis, Super Bowl MVP
- John Elway, Franchise Record, Most Touchdowns in One Season, 27 Touchdown Passes 
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 256
- "New uniforms for a new era". History.DenverBroncos.com. February 4, 1997. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- "Broncos Directory" (PDF). 1997 Denver Broncos Media Guide. NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- "Last Undefeated NFL Teams in Each Season". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- "1997 Denver Broncos starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 44