1997 Denver Broncos season

1997 Denver Broncos season
Head coach Mike Shanahan
General manager John Beake
Owner Pat Bowlen
Home field Mile High Stadium
Record 12–4
Division place 2nd AFC West
Playoff finish Won Wild Card Playoffs
(Jaguars) 42–17
Won Divisional Playoffs
(Chiefs) 14–10
Won AFC Championship
(Steelers) 24–21
Won Super Bowl XXXII
(Packers) 31–24

The 1997 Denver Broncos season was the team's 39th, and 29th 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.[1]

The season saw the Broncos change their logo and uniforms which remain in use until it change from blue tops to orange in 2012 .

Season summary

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.[2] 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
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – Rich Tuten
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning – Barney Chavous
  • Administrative Assistant/Strength and Conditioning – Greg Saporta


1997 Denver Broncos roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Rookies in italics



Week Date Opponent Result Game site Record Attendance
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
7 Bye week
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

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Kansas City Chiefs


AFC West
(1) Kansas City Chiefs 1330.813375232W6
(4) Denver Broncos 1240.750472287W1
Seattle Seahawks 880.500365362W2
Oakland Raiders 4120.250324419L5
San Diego Chargers 4120.250266425L8


Round Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance
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


  1. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 256
  2. Last Undefeated NFL Teams in Each Season
  3. "1997 Denver Broncos starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  4. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 44

External links

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