|1997 Pittsburgh Steelers season|
|Owner||The Rooney Family|
|Head coach||Bill Cowher|
|General manager||Tom Donahoe|
|Home field||Three Rivers Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (Patriots) 7-6|
Lost AFC Championship (Broncos) 21-24
|Team MVP||Jerome Bettis|
|Team ROY||Chad Scott|
The 1997 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 65th season as a professional sports franchise and as a member of the National Football League.
The Steelers finished with an 11-5 record, their fourth consecutive AFC Central top seed, 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. Their 2,479 total rushing yards were the third-most of the decade by any team.
The Steelers went into the season introducing a new font style numbers on jerseys matching the ones they wear on the helmets and the Steelers logo patch on uniform which remains used as of 2020.
The Steelers would host the AFC Championship Game for the third time in four years; however, they would ultimately lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. That game was the last playoff appearance for the Steelers during the 1990s and they did not return to the postseason until 2001.
As of 2019, this remains the only time in their history the Steelers defeated the Patriots in the playoffs.
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 and the names became single color (black) fonts on the white away jersey. The names returned to gold on black the following year. The uniforms have remained the same since these changes as of 2007.
|1997 Pittsburgh Steelers draft|
|2||53||Will Blackwell||Wide receiver||San Diego State|
|3||91||Mike Vrabel *||Linebacker||Ohio State|
|5||154||George Jones||Running back||San Diego State|
|6||186||Daryl Porter||Safety||Boston College|
|6||199||Rod Manuel||Defensive end||Oklahoma|
|7||223||Mike Adams||Wide Receiver||Texas|
|Made roster * Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
Notable additions include Paul Wiggins and Mike Vrabel.
|1||July 27||vs. Chicago Bears||W 30-17||1-0||Croke Park (Dublin, Ireland)|
|2||August 2||at Kansas City Chiefs||W 28-14||2-0||Arrowhead Stadium|
|3||August 11||Philadelphia Eagles||W 42-26||3-0||Three Rivers Stadium|
|4||August 17||Detroit Lions||W 28-20||4-0||Three Rivers Stadium|
|5||August 22||at Carolina Panthers||W 27-19||5-0||Ericsson Stadium|
|1||August 31||Dallas Cowboys||L 7-37||0-1||Three Rivers Stadium|
|2||September 7||Washington Redskins||W 14-13||1-1||Three Rivers Stadium|
|4||September 22||at Jacksonville Jaguars||L 21-30||1-2||Alltel Stadium|
|5||September 28||Tennessee Oilers||W 37-24||2-2||Three Rivers Stadium|
|6||October 5||at Baltimore Ravens||W 42-34||3-2||Memorial Stadium|
|7||October 12||Indianapolis Colts||W 24-22||4-2||Three Rivers Stadium|
|8||October 19||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 26-10||5-2||Cinergy Field|
|9||October 26||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 23-17 (OT)||6-2||Three Rivers Stadium|
|10||November 3||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 10-13||6-3||Arrowhead Stadium|
|11||November 9||Baltimore Ravens||W 37-0||7-3||Three Rivers Stadium|
|12||November 16||Cincinnati Bengals||W 20-3||8-3||Three Rivers Stadium|
|13||November 23||at Philadelphia Eagles||L 20-23||8-4||Veterans Stadium|
|14||November 30||at Arizona Cardinals||W 26-20 (OT)||9-4||Sun Devil Stadium|
|15||December 7||Denver Broncos||W 35-24||10-4||Three Rivers Stadium|
|16||December 13||at New England Patriots||W 24-21 (OT)||11-4||Foxboro Stadium|
|17||December 21||at Tennessee Oilers||L 6-16||11-5||Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium|
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.
See: 1998 Pro Bowl