The 1997 Dallas Cowboys season would mark their 38th in the NFL and for the first time since 1990, the team would suffer a losing season and miss the playoffs. They collapsed from a 6–5 start and finished at 6–10.
Though the season began well with an impressive win against the Pittsburgh Steelers and a 3–1 start, the Cowboys would soon see a sharp decline that included five consecutive losses to close out the year. A series of countless off-the-field incidents, lack of discipline, and rumors of infighting between quarterbackTroy Aikman and head coachBarry Switzer plagued the team throughout the year. In a season filled with injuries and controversy, which also saw a tearful Michael Irvin promising change following a tough loss to the New York Giants in the final regular season game, Switzer would later resign after the season. Notable additions to the team were linebackerDexter Coakley.