1997 Denver Broncos season
|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 Wild Card Playoffs
Won Divisional Playoffs
Won AFC Championship
Won Super Bowl XXXII
The 1997 Denver Broncos season was the team's 38th, and 28th in the National Football League (NFL). 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.
The season saw the Broncos change their logo and uniforms which remain in use until it change from blue tops to orange in 2012 .
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 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.
|1997 Denver Broncos staff|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1997 Denver Broncos roster|
|1||August 31, 1997||Kansas City Chiefs||W 19–3||Mile High Stadium||1–0||
|2||September 7, 1997||at Seattle Seahawks||W 35–14||Kingdome||2–0||
|3||September 14, 1997||St. Louis Rams||W 35–14||Mile High Stadium||3–0||
|4||September 21, 1997||Cincinnati Bengals||W 38–20||Mile High Stadium||4–0||
|5||September 28, 1997||at Atlanta Falcons||W 29–21||Georgia Dome||5–0||
|6||October 6, 1997||New England Patriots||W 34–13||Mile High Stadium||6–0||
|8||October 19, 1997||at Oakland Raiders||L 25–28||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||6–1||
|9||October 26, 1997||at Buffalo Bills||W 23–20 (OT)||Rich Stadium||7–1||
|10||November 2, 1997||Seattle Seahawks||W 30–27||Mile High Stadium||8–1||
|11||November 9, 1997||Carolina Panthers||W 34–0||Mile High Stadium||9–1||
|12||November 16, 1997||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 22–24||Arrowhead Stadium||9–2||
|13||November 24, 1997||Oakland Raiders||W 31–3||Mile High Stadium||10–2||
|14||November 30, 1997||at San Diego Chargers||W 38–28||Jack Murphy Stadium||11–2||
|15||December 7, 1997||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 24–35||Three Rivers Stadium||11–3||
|16||December 15, 1997||at San Francisco 49ers||L 17–34||3Com Park||11–4||
|17||December 21, 1997||San Diego Chargers||W 38–3||Mile High Stadium||12–4||
Week 1: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
|(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|
|Wild Card Playoffs||December 27, 1997||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 42–17||Mile High Stadium||
|Divisional Playoffs||January 4, 1998||at Kansas City Chiefs||W 14–10||Arrowhead Stadium||
|AFC Championship||January 11, 1998||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24–21||Three Rivers Stadium||
|Super Bowl XXXII||January 25, 1998||N Green Bay Packers||W 31–24||Qualcomm Stadium||
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
- Last Undefeated NFL Teams in Each Season
- "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