1997–98 NFL playoffs


1997–98 NFL playoffs

The NFL playoffs following the 1997 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XXXII.

Playoff seeds
Seed AFC NFC
1 Kansas City Chiefs (West winner) San Francisco 49ers (West winner)
2 Pittsburgh Steelers (Central winner) Green Bay Packers (Central winner)
3 New England Patriots (East winner) New York Giants (East winner)
4 Denver Broncos Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Detroit Lions
6 Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings

Contents

Bracket

  Wild Card Playoffs Divisional Playoffs Conference Championships Super Bowl XXXII
                                     
5  Detroit 10  
4  Tampa Bay 20  
  4  Tampa Bay 7  
    2  Green Bay 21  
      
        
  2  Green Bay 23  
NFC
  1  San Francisco 10  
6  Minnesota 23  
3  N.Y. Giants 22  
  6  Minnesota 22
    1  San Francisco 38  
      
        
  N2  Green Bay 24
  A4  Denver 31
5  Jacksonville 17  
4  Denver 42  
  4  Denver 14
    1  Kansas City 10  
      
        
  4  Denver 24
AFC
  2  Pittsburgh 21  
6  Miami 3  
3  New England 17  
  3  New England 6
    2  Pittsburgh 7  
      

Wild Card playoffs

December 27, 1997

NFC: Minnesota Vikings 23, New York Giants 22

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 3 7 13 23
Giants 6 13 0 3 22

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Vikings scored 10 points (a Jake Reed 30-yard touchdown pass from Randall Cunningham and a field goal) in the final 90 seconds of the game to stun the Giants.

AFC: Denver Broncos 42, Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Jaguars 0 7 10 0 17
Broncos 14 7 0 21 42

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

Denver ran over the Jaguars with 310 rushing yards and 511 total yards of offense. Denver running back Terrell Davis rushed for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns, while running back Derek Loville racked up 103 yards and 2 scores on just 11 carries. Broncos quarterback John Elway completed 16 of 24 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown.

December 28, 1997

AFC: New England Patriots 17, Miami Dolphins 3

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Dolphins 0 0 0 3 3
Patriots 0 7 10 0 17

at Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

The Patriot defense held Miami to 162 total yards of offense, 42 rushing yards and forced three Dolphins turnovers. Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino was held to just 17 of 43 completions for 141 yards and was intercepted twice.

NFC: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Detroit Lions 10

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 0 3 7 10
Buccaneers 3 10 7 0 20

at Houlihan's Stadium, Tampa, Florida

  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 57 °F (14 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 73,361
  • Referee: Mike Carey
  • TV announcers (Fox): Pat Summerall and John Madden

Tampa Bay won their first playoff game since 1979 with quarterback Trent Dilfer's 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Horace Copeland, running back Mike Alstott's 31-yard touchdown run, and two field goals. Their defense limited Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell to just 10 of 25 completions for 78 yards.

Byes

Divisional playoffs

January 3, 1998

AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers 7, New England Patriots 6

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

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Quarterback Kordell Stewart's 40-yard touchdown run made the difference in a defense-dominated game, and rookie lineman/linebacker Mike Vrabel's late sack and forced fumble on quarterback Drew Bledsoe sealed the victory for the Steelers. For the 3rd time in 4 years, Pittsburgh would play and host the AFC championship game

NFC: San Francisco 49ers 38, Minnesota Vikings 22

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 7 0 7 8 22
49ers 7 14 10 7 38

at 3Com Park, San Francisco, California

49ers running back Terry Kirby ran for a career-high 120 yards and two touchdowns and 49ers receiver J.J. Stokes caught a career-high nine passes for 101 yards. Steve Young threw for 220 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 37.

January 4, 1998

NFC: Green Bay Packers 21, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 0 0 7 0 7
Packers 7 6 0 8 21

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Game time: 12:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. CST
  • Game weather: 32 °F (0 °C), cloudy
  • Game attendance: 60,327
  • Referee: Johnny Grier
  • TV announcers (Fox): Pat Summerall and John Madden

Packers running back Dorsey Levens rushed for a team playoff record of 112 yards and a touchdown while also catching 4 passes for 29 yards as the Green Bay defense held Tampa Bay to 90 rushing yards and intercepted 2 passes from Trent Dilfer, who finished the game with only 11 of 36 completions for 200 yards.

Early in the game, Tampa Bay had a chance to score first, but Packers defensive tackle Bob Kuberski blocked Michael Husted's 43-yard field goal attempt. Green Bay then drove for the first touchdown of the game with Brett Favre's 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Chmura. Early in the second quarter, Packers receiver Robert Brooks' 28-yard punt return and his 21-yard reception set up a field goal by Ryan Longwell. And later on, defensive back Tyrone Williams intercepted a pass from Dilfer and returned it 14 yards, setting up Longwell's second field goal with six seconds left in the half, making the score 13-0.

Green Bay receiver Antonio Freeman returned the second half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, but a holding penalty on Darren Sharper eliminated the score and moved the ball all the way back to their own 11-yard line. Green Bay still managed to drive into scoring range, but on the eighth play of the drive, Bucs defensive back Donnie Abraham intercepted a pass from Favre on the Tampa Bay 6-yard line. Dilfer subsequently led the Bucs offense 94 yards in 8 plays to score on fullback Mike Alstott's 6-yard touchdown run, cutting the score to 13-7. But two possessions later, the Packers drove 54 yards and scored with a 2-yard touchdown run by Levens. Then, Favre closed out the scoring by running in the 2-point conversion on a quarterback draw.

AFC: Denver Broncos 14, Kansas City Chiefs 10

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 0 7 14
Chiefs 0 0 10 0 10

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

For the third consecutive year the AFC's top seed fell in the divisional playoffs, as the Chiefs fell to the Broncos. Denver running back Terrell Davis ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Broncos to victory. Chiefs quarterback Elvis Grbac threw for 260 yards, but his team could only score 10 points. Receiver Andre Rison caught 8 passes for 110 yards. The Chiefs had an opportunity to go ahead near the end of the game, but with the clock at 19 seconds and running down a confused Chiefs offense hurried an Elvis Grbac incompletion into the end zone intended for Lake Dawson on fourth down. For the second time in 3 years, Kansas City was eliminated as a #1 seed

Conference championships

January 11, 1998

AFC Championship: Denver Broncos 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 21

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

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Denver forced three interceptions and a fumble from Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. After Pittsburgh cut the lead to 24-21 with 2:46 left in the game, the Broncos were able to run out the clock after a key third-down conversion from John Elway to Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe said that Elway made up the converting play in the huddle, seconds before the snap. Terrell Davis rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown. Jerome Bettis rushed for 105 yards and a score.

NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers 23, San Francisco 49ers 10

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 3 10 0 10 23
49ers 0 3 0 7 10

at 3Com Park, San Francisco

  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 57 °F (14 °C), rain
  • Game attendance: 68,987
  • Referee: Dick Hantak
  • TV announcers (Fox): Pat Summerall and John Madden

Green Bay opened the game by driving to the 3-yard line before a pass was deflected falling short of a wide open fullback William Henderson, forcing the Packers to settle for a field goal. Later in the first half, Packers safety Eugene Robinson intercepted Steve Young's pass and returned it 58 yards in what turned out to be a crucial play. Quarterback Brett Favre would then find wide receiver Antonio Freeman slicing across the middle on a slant for a 29-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 10-0 lead. The Packers led 13-3 at the half and although the 49ers would manage a field goal in the second quarter, they would not manage a touchdown until the closing minutes of the game on a kickoff return by Chuck Levy. Favre finished the game with 16 of 27 pass completions for 222 yards, while the Green Bay defense held the 49ers to 33 rushing yards and forced two turnovers. Running back Dorsey Levens recorded a then-playoff team record of 116 rushing yards and a touchdown, while also catching 6 passes for 37 yards. And in addition to his touchdown reception, Freeman caught 4 passes for 107 yards. This was the third year in a row the Packers defeated the 49ers in the playoffs, twice in San Francisco.

Super Bowl

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Packers (NFC) 7 7 3 7 24
Broncos (AFC) 7 10 7 7 31

at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

  • Date: January 25, 1998
  • Game attendance: 68,912
  • Referee: Ed Hochuli
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg, Phil Simms, and Paul Maguire

References

  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Baltimore Denver Arizona Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cincinnati Kansas City Dallas Detroit Carolina
Miami Jacksonville Oakland NY Giants Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego Philadelphia Minnesota St. Louis
NY Jets Tennessee Seattle Washington Tampa Bay San Francisco
1997 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXXII

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