1997 Pittsburgh Steelers season

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1997 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Bill Cowher
General manager Tom Donahoe
Owner The Rooney Family
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 11–5
Division place 1st in AFC Central
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Patriots) 7–6
Lost AFC Championship (Broncos) 24–21
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros
Team MVP Jerome Bettis
Team ROY Chad Scott
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1996 1998 >

The 1997 Pittsburgh Steelers season was considered a transitional year due to many key free agent losses in the offseason, as well as the first season of Kordell Stewart starting at quarterback.

However, the Steelers finished with an 11–5 record, their fourth consecutive AFC Central crown, and their sixth straight playoff appearance. In doing so, Steelers head coach Bill Cowher tied Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown with most consecutive playoff appearances to start a head coaching career in the NFL—a record Cowher still co-owns with Brown, as the Steelers missed the playoffs the following year.

The Steelers had 572 rushing attempts in 1997, the most in the 1990s.[1] Their 2,479 total rushing yards were the third-most of the decade by any team.

The Steelers would host the AFC Championship game for the third time in four years. However, they would ultimately lose to the wild-card Denver Broncos in the AFC Title game.

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1997 Pittsburgh Steelers staff
Front office
  • President – Daniel M. Rooney
  • Vice President – John R. McGinley
  • Vice President – Arthur J. Rooney, Jr.
  • Vice President and General Counsel – Arthur J. Rooney II
  • Administration Advisor – Chuck Noll
  • Director of Business – Mark Hart
  • Business Coordinator – Dan Ferens
  • Accounts Coordinator – Jim Ellenberger
  • Office/Ticket Manager – Geraldine Glenn
  • Marketing Coordinator – Mark Fuhrman
  • Merchandising Manager – Tim Carey
  • Assistant Marketing Manager – Lynne Molyneaux
  • Media Relations Coordinator – Rob Boulware
  • Assistant/Community Relations – Ron Miller
  • Football Operations
  • Director of Football Operations – Tom Donahoe
  • Personnel Staff
  • College Personnel Coordinator – Tom Modrak
  • Pro Personnel Coordinator – Charles Bailey
  • College Scout – Bob Lane
  • College Scout – Max McCartney
  • College Scout – Phil Kreidler
  • BLESTO College Scout – Mark Gorscak

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Conditioning Coordinator – Chet Fuhrman
  • Medical Staff
  • Opthalmologist – Dr. Randy Beatty
  • Physician, Orthopedic – Dr. James P. Bradley
  • Neurological Surgery Consultant – Dr. Joseph Maroon
  • Physician, M.D. – Dr. Richard Rydze
  • Physician, Consultant – Dr. Abraham J. Twerski
  • Physician, M.D. – Dr. Anthony P. Yates
  • Training Staff
  • Head Trainer – John Norwig
  • Assistant Trainer – Rick Burkholder
  • Equipment Manager - Rodgers Freyvogel
  • Field Manager – Rich Baker
  • Field/Equipment Assistant – Paul Gallagher
  • Equipment Consultant - Tony Parisi
  • Video Coordinator – Bob McCartney
  • Video Assistant – Pat Dolan
  • Player Development Coordinator – Anthony Griggs
  • Photographers – Mike Fabus, Bill Amatucci,Michael Drazdzinski

[2]

Notable additions include Paul Wiggins and Mike Vrabel.

Roster[edit]

1997 Pittsburgh Steelers final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Rookies in italics
51 Active, 3 Inactive, 6 Practice squad

Season[edit]

Offseason[edit]

The Steelers saw many key free-agents leave the team, the biggest being cornerback Rod Woodson, whose ten-year tenure with the team ended due to a dispute over money with the Rooney family. Woodson would sign with the San Francisco 49ers as a result, though the Steelers would see him again in the following four seasons afterward as a member of the rival Baltimore Ravens. Other free-agent losses included Chad Brown, Ernie Mills, Andre Hastings, Deon Figures, and Brentson Buckner, among others. The team did manage to keep its other prized free-agent besides Woodson, locking up Jerome Bettis (who they had acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams the year before) with a four-year deal.

The team also had a transition at quarterback. After pushing Bill Cowher play exclusively at quarterback, Kordell Stewart was handed the starting job and dropping his "Slash" role on the team. Stewart would have success with the team this season, but would be inconsistent afterwards.

The team also made some minor changes to the uniforms this season, the first changes since gold pants were adopted as part of the white jerseys in 1972. The jersey numbers, previously having the old-style block numbering, were switched to the rounder style (Futura Condensed) as seen on the helmets. In addition, the Steelers logo was added to the left shoulder. The uniforms have remained the same since these changes as of 2007.

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Location Time (ET) TV Result Record
1 Sun. Aug. 31 Dallas Cowboys Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm FOX L 37–7 0–1
2 Sun. Sep. 7 Washington Redskins Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm FOX W 14–13 1–1
3 Sun. Sep. 14 Bye
4 Mon. Sep. 22 at Jacksonville Jaguars Alltel Stadium 9:00 pm ABC L 30–21 1–2
5 Sun. Sep. 28 Tennessee Oilers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 37–24 2–2
6 Sun. Oct. 5 at Baltimore Ravens Memorial Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 42–34 3–2
7 Sun. Oct. 12 Indianapolis Colts Three Rivers Stadium 8:00 pm TNT W 24–22 4–2
8 Sun. Oct. 19 at Cincinnati Bengals Cinergy Field 4:00 pm NBC W 26–10 5–2
9 Sun. Oct. 26 Jacksonville Jaguars Three Rivers Stadium 4:00 pm NBC W 23–17 OT 6–2
10 Mon. Nov. 3 at Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium 9:00 pm ABC L 13–10 6–3
11 Sun. Nov. 9 Baltimore Ravens Three Rivers Stadium 8:00 pm ESPN W 37–0 7–3
12 Sun. Nov. 16 Cincinnati Bengals Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 20–3 8–3
13 Sun. Nov. 23 at Philadelphia Eagles Veterans Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 23–20 8–4
14 Sun. Nov. 30 at Arizona Cardinals Sun Devil Stadium 4:00 pm NBC W 26–20 OT 9–4
15 Sun. Dec. 7 Denver Broncos Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 35–24 10–4
16 Sat. Dec. 13 at New England Patriots Foxboro Stadium 4:00 pm NBC W 24–21 OT 11–4
17 Sun. Dec. 21 at Tennessee Oilers Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 16–6 11–5

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1 (Sunday August 31, 1997): vs. Dallas Cowboys[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Cowboys 0 17 17 3 37
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Dallas – Miller 12 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick)
  • Dallas – Irvin 42 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick)
  • Dallas – FG Cunningham 52
  • Dallas – Irvin 15 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick)
  • Dallas – FG Cunningham 24
  • Dallas – Johnston 13 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick)
  • Dallas – FG Cunningham 28
  • Pittsburgh – Bruener 4 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)

Week 2 (Sunday September 7, 1997): vs. Washington Redskins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 0 3 10 0 13
Steelers 7 0 0 7 14

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 74 °F (Partly Sunny)
  • Game attendance: 58,059
  • Referee: Ron Blum
  • TV announcers: (FOX) Dick Stockton (play by play), Matt Millen (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Stewart 1 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Washington – FG Blanton 37
  • Washington – Mitchell 97 kickoff return (Blanton kick)
  • Washington – FG Blanton 28
  • Pittsburgh – Bettis 1 run (N. Johnson kick)

Week 3 (Sunday September 14, 1997): Bye Week[edit]

Week 4 (Monday September 22, 1997): at Jacksonville Jaguars[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 0 7 7 21
Jaguars 7 10 3 10 30

at Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida

Scoring Drives:

  • Jacksonville – Means 1 run (Hollis kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Stewart 6 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Jacksonville – Smith 11 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick)
  • Jacksonville – FG Hollis 20
  • Pittsburgh – Thigpen 4 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Jacksonville – FG Hollis 45
  • Pittsburgh – Bruener 1 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Jacksonville – FG Hollis 27
  • Jacksonville – Hudson 58 blocked field goal return (Hollis kick)

Week 5 (Sunday September 28, 1997): vs. Tennessee Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 0 6 3 15 24
Steelers 10 21 3 3 37

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 67 °F (Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 57,507
  • Referee: Bernie Kukar
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Jim Donovan (play by play), Beasley Reece (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 6 (Sunday October 5, 1997): at Baltimore Ravens[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 14 21 42
Ravens 14 10 0 10 34

at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 64,421
  • Referee: Bill Carollo
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Tom Hammond (play by play), Jim Kelly (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Baltimore – Green 22 pass from Testaverde (Stover kick)
  • Baltimore – Morris 1 run (Stover kick)
  • Baltimore – Kinchen 24 pass from Testaverde (Stover kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Stewart 1 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Baltimore – FG Stover 34
  • Pittsburgh – Blackwell 97 kickoff return (N. Johnson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – C. Johnson 8 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Bruener 4 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – C. Johnson 17 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Baltimore – Alexander 10 pass from Testaverde (Byner pass from Testaverde)
  • Pittsburgh – Stewart 74 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Baltimore – Safety, Miller ran out of end zone

Week 7 (Sunday October 12, 1997): vs. Indianapolis Colts[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Colts 10 0 3 9 22
Steelers 0 17 7 0 24

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Indianapolis – Harrison 18 pass from Harbaugh (Blanchard kick)
  • Indianapolis – FG Blanchard 37
  • Pittsburgh – FG N. Johnson 23
  • Pittsburgh – Bettis 7 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Lake 38 fumble return (N. Johnson kick)
  • Indianapolis – FG Blanchard 27
  • Pittsburgh – Hawkins 28 pass from Tomczak (N. Johnson kick)
  • Indianapolis – FG Blanchard 35
  • Indianapolis – Stablein 5 pass from Harbaugh (pass failed)

Week 8 (Sunday October 19, 1997): at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 13 7 6 26
Bengals 7 0 3 0 10

at Cinergy Field, Cincinnati, Ohio

Scoring Drives:

  • Cincinnati – Carter 6 run (Pelfrey kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Jones 11 pass from Stewart (pass failed)
  • PIttsburgh – Bettis 1 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Thigpen 11 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Cincinnati – FG Pelfrey 33
  • Pittsburgh – FG N. Johnson 43
  • Pittsburgh – FG N. Johnson 32

Week 9 (Sunday October 26, 1997): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Jaguars 0 10 0 7 0 17
Steelers 0 0 7 10 6 23

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Jacksonville – Jackson 8 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick)
  • Jacksonville – FG Hollis 20
  • Pittsburgh – Hawkins 28 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Stewart 1 run (N. Johnson kick)
  • Jacksonville – Mitchell 3 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG N. Johnson 19
  • Pittsburgh – Bettis 17 pass from Stewart

Week 10 (Monday November 3, 1997): at Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 10 0 0 0 10
Chiefs 0 13 0 0 13

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Scoring Drives:

Week 11 (Sunday November 9, 1997): vs. Baltimore Ravens[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ravens 0 0 0 0 0
Steelers 10 10 10 7 37

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

Week 12 (Sunday November 16, 1997): vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 0 3 0 3
Steelers 3 3 7 7 20

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 30 °F (Light Snow)
  • Game attendance: 55,226
  • Referee: Johnny Grier
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Dan Hicks (play by play), Jim Kelly (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 13 (Sunday November 23, 1997): at Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 3 7 7 20
Eagles 14 3 3 3 23

at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 67,166
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Don Criqui (play by play), Jim Mora (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Philadelphia – Dunn 31 pass from Hoying (Boniol kick)
  • Philadelphia – Fryar 8 pass from Hoying (Boniol kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG N. Johnson 46
  • Pittsburgh – FG N. Johnson 40
  • Philadelphia – FG Boniol 23
  • Philadelphia – FG Boniol 35
  • Pittsburgh – Bettis 19 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)
  • Philadelphia – FG Boniol 25
  • Pittsburgh – Blackwell 30 pass from Stewart (N. Johnson kick)

Week 14 (Sunday November 30, 1997): at Arizona Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Steelers 7 3 7 3 6 26
Cardinals 0 3 14 3 0 20

at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona

  • Game time: 4:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 66,341
  • Referee: Bob McElwee
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Dan Hicks (play by play), Jim Kelly (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 15 (Sunday December 7, 1997): vs. Denver Broncos[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 14 7 3 0 24
Steelers 7 14 7 7 35

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

Week 16 (Saturday December 13, 1997): at New England Patriots[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Steelers 0 7 3 11 3 24
Patriots 0 14 0 7 0 21

at Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Scoring Drives:

Week 17 (Sunday December 21, 1997): at Tennessee Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 0 0 3 6
Oilers 3 10 3 0 16

at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee

Scoring Drives:

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT PF PA
Pittsburgh Steelers 11 5 0 .688 372 307
Jacksonville Jaguars 11 5 0 .688 394 318
Tennessee Oilers 8 8 0 .500 333 310
Cincinnati Bengals 7 9 0 .438 355 405
Baltimore Ravens 6 9 1 .406 326 345

Playoffs[edit]

Game summaries[edit]

Both of the Steelers post-season matchups were rematches from the regular season. The Steelers had a first-round bye, then faced the AFC East champion (and defending AFC champion) New England Patriots at home. The game, which was a homecoming for young Patriots players & Pittsburgh area natives Ty Law and Curtis Martin (Martin was in fact playing in his last game with New England before signing with the New York Jets that offseason), was also a rematch of the previous year's AFC Divisional matchup, which took place in Foxborough.

After defeating the Pats, the Steelers would lose to the eventual Super Bowl XXXII champion Denver Broncos 24–21 in Elway's last trip to Pittsburgh.

AFC Divisional Playoff (Saturday January 3, 1998): vs. New England Patriots[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 0 3 0 3 6
Steelers 7 0 0 0 7

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 12:30 pm EST
  • Game weather: 52 °F (Light Rain)
  • Game attendance: 61,228
  • Referee: Walt Coleman
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Tom Hammond (play by play), Randy Cross (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

AFC Championship Game (Sunday January 11, 1998): vs. Denver Broncos[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 17 0 0 24
Steelers 7 7 0 7 21

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

Honors and awards[edit]

Pro Bowlers[edit]

See: 1998 Pro Bowl

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1990 to 1999, in the NFL, in the regular season, sorted by descending Rushing Att.
  2. ^ 1997 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  3. ^ 1997 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  4. ^ 1998 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  5. ^ "http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/1997_roster.htm". 
  6. ^ "http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/1998_roster.htm". 
  7. ^ "http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/1999_roster.htm".