1997 San Francisco 49ers Season
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1997 San Francisco 49ers Season
1997 San Francisco 49ers season
Head coachSteve Mariucci
Home fieldCandlestick Park
Division place1st NFC West
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (vs. Vikings) 38-22
Lost NFC Championship (vs. Packers) 10-23
Pro BowlersQB Steve Young
OL Kevin Gogan
DL Dana Stubblefield
LB Ken Norton, Jr.
LB Lee Woodall
DB Merton Hanks

The 1997 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 48th season in the National Football League and their 52nd overall. The franchise appeared in the NFC Championship Game for the fifth time in the 1990s. This season marked their last appearance in the NFC title game until the 2011 season as well as the last time that they clinched the number 1 seed until the 2019 season. The team's playoff run was ended by the Green Bay Packers for the third straight year.


NFL Draft

1997 San Francisco 49ers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 26 Jim Druckenmiller  Quarterback Virginia Tech
2 55 Marc Edwards  Fullback Notre Dame
3 77 Greg Clark  Tight end Stanford
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Undrafted free agents

1997 Undrafted Free Agents of note
Player Position College
Ryan Longwell Kicker California
Brandon Noble Defensive tackle Penn State





Regular season

Opening the 1997 season with new coach Steve Mariucci and halfback Garrison Hearst, the 49ers seemed to have shored up their one major weakness from the season before. Also, additions Kevin Gogan to the offensive line and Rod Woodson to the defense were clear improvements over last season's roster.

However, in the first game of the season at Tampa Bay both quarterback Steve Young and receiver Jerry Rice went down with injuries. Rice appeared to be out for the season with a serious knee injury and Young, with yet another concussion, had discussed retirement.

Young eventually came back, as did Rice for 1+12 quarters (before getting another unrelated injury to his knee), and the team, with the league's number one defense leading the way, pulled together and finished strongly at 13-3.


Week Date Opponent Result TV Time(PT) TV Announcers Attendance Record
1 August 31, 1997 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 6-13 FOX 1:00pm Kevin Harlan & Jerry Glanville
2 September 7, 1997 at St. Louis Rams W 15-12 FOX 10:00am Sam Rosen & Bill Maas
3 September 14, 1997 New Orleans Saints W 33-7 FOX 1:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
4 September 21, 1997 Atlanta Falcons W 34-17 FOX 1:00pm Sam Rosen & Ron Pitts
5 September 29, 1997 (Mon) at Carolina Panthers W 34-21 ABC 6:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
6 Bye
7 October 12, 1997 St. Louis Rams W 30-10 FOX 1:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
8 October 19, 1997 at Atlanta Falcons W 35-28 FOX 10:00am Thom Brennaman & Ron Pitts
9 October 26, 1997 at New Orleans Saints W 23-0 FOX 10:00am Kevin Harlan & Jerry Glanville
10 November 2, 1997 Dallas Cowboys W 17-10 FOX 1:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
11 November 10, 1997 (Mon) at Philadelphia Eagles W 24-12 ABC 6:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
12 November 16, 1997 Carolina Panthers W 27-19 FOX 1:00pm Kevin Harlan & Jerry Glanville
13 November 23, 1997 San Diego Chargers W 17-10 NBC 1:00pm Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire & Phil Simms
14 November 30, 1997 at Kansas City Chiefs L 9-44 FOX 10:00am Pat Summerall & John Madden
15 December 7, 1997 Minnesota Vikings W 28-17 FOX 1:00pm Pat Summerall & John Madden
16 December 15, 1997 (Mon) Denver Broncos W 34-17 ABC 6:00pm Al Michaels, Frank Gifford & Dan Dierdorf
17 December 21, 1997 at Seattle Seahawks L 9-38 ESPN 5:00pm Mike Patrick & Joe Theismann

Game Summaries

Week One at Tampa

Steve Mariucci's debut game as 49ers head coach did not go well as Steve Young was sacked by Warren Sapp on San Francisco's first drive and was benched for Jeff Brohm until the fourth quarter, who made no difference in a 13-6 Bucs win.

Week Two at St. Louis

Jim Druckenmiller started for Young as the Niners entered the TWA Dome. The Rams scored first on a field goal while San Francisco's first drive saw a missed attempt; Druckenmiller completed only ten passes (on 28 throws) and three of them were on this drive but later in the second he completed a 25-yard touchdown (it would be the only touchdown of his NFL career). The Rams led 12-7 on four Jeff Wilkins field goals until following a Lawrence Phillips fumble with 12 minutes remaining Garrison Hearst burst in a 35-yard Niners score on the resulting San Francisco possession. The Rams failed on fourth down in the final five minutes for the 15-12 Niners win.

Week Three vs. New Orleans

The Niners' first home game of the year was another win over the Saints, who were led this time by ex-Bears coach Mike Ditka. Despite being sacked five times Steve Young completed eighteen passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Saints quarterbacks threw a combined six interceptions in the game.

Week Four vs. Atlanta Falcons

Young again blew past 30 points scored as the Niners routed the Falcons 34-7. Young completed 17 of 24 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, one a 56-yarder to Terrell Owens.

Week Five vs. Carolina Panthers

After just one win in four career games against the Panthers in Carolina's first two seasons the Niners upended the slumping Panthers 34-21. The Niners jumped to a 27-7 lead as they intercepted Kerry Collins three times.

Week Seven vs. St. Louis Rams

The Niners crushed the Rams at 3Com Park 30-10 as they held Tony Banks to just nine completions while sacking him four times.

Week Eight at Atlanta Falcons

A week after getting their first win of the season (against New Orleans) the Falcons hosted the Niners and their first drive ended in a 27-yard touchdown throw by Jamal Anderson to Bert Emanuel. The Niners scored three straight touchdowns and kept answering ensuing Falcons touchdowns with more of their own. With the score 35-28 San Francisco the Falcons attempted an onside kick but the Niners recovered and won the game.

Week Nine at New Orleans Saints

The Niners traveled 470 miles southwest to the Superdome and flustered the 2-6 Saints yet again. Three Saints quarterbacks could only muster 109 yards with a pick and a fumble as the Niners rolled 23-0.

Week 10 vs. Dallas Cowboys

The playoff-level intensity of the 1992-96 period was gone as the faltering Cowboys limped into 3Com Park at 4-4 and actually led in the third quarter 10-7, but the surging Niners scored ten more points then intercepted Troy Aikman in the final minute on a pass intended for Stepfret Williams; the 17-10 Niners win would in essence be a last hurrah for the rivalry that had dominated the league earlier in the decade.

Week 11 at Philadelphia Eagles

The Niners traveled to Veterans Stadium and won 24-12, snaring three Eagles turnovers and scoring on a Merton Hanks fumble return and a Chuck Levy punt return.

Werk 12 vs. Carolina Panthers

The Niners picked off Kerry Collins three more times and held the Panthers under 260 total yards as they reached ten straight wins 23-19.

Week 13 vs. San Diego Chargers

The collapse of San Diego's season after a 4-4 start continued as only a Paul Bradford fumble-return score marred San Francisco's 17-10 win.

Week 14 at Kansas City Chiefs

Three years after their loss to Joe Montana at Arrowhead Stadium, the Niners were crushed 44-9 as Rich Gannon threw three touchdowns and Steve Young threw three interceptions and Jeff Brohm threw a pick six.

Week 15 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Steve Young rebounded with two touchdowns in a 28-17 win over the Vikings. In a harbinger of the Vikings' subsequent season Randall Cunningham played the whole game and had two touchdowns.

Week 16 vs. Denver Broncos

The Niners reached thirteen wins by crushing the Super Bowl-bound Denver Broncos 34-17. The Broncos led 17-14 in the third quarter but after a Niners field goal John Elway was picked off by Merton Hanks and Hanks scored. Another Niners field goal and a fumble return score by Kevin Greene salted away the San Francisco win.

Week 17 at Seattle Seahawks

Having secured the top playoff seed the Niners played all three of their quarterbacks at the Kingdome and the frustrated Seahawks ended their 8-8 season on a high note as Warren Moon erupted for four touchdowns in only his second career win (38-9) in six games against San Francisco (the other win was a 10-7 win with the Oilers).


NFC West
(1) San Francisco 49ers 13 3 0 .813 375 265 L1
Carolina Panthers 7 9 0 .438 265 314 L2
Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0 .438 320 361 L1
New Orleans Saints 6 10 0 .375 237 327 L1
St. Louis Rams 5 11 0 .313 299 359 W1


Toward the end of the season, things appeared to be going well for the team's postseason prospects. However, in the second to last game of the season, Rice was injured again and deemed out for the playoffs. Similarly, the team's offensive heart for the season, running back Garrison Hearst, had a broken collar bone through the post season and did not return to full health prior to the end of the season.

Despite not having either their leading receiver or their starting running back, the 49ers were able to make it to their 7th NFC championship game in 10 years. However, not having an elite receiver or solid running back showed glaringly in their loss to the Packers in the conference championship game (Hearst returned, but his injury was clearly still a problem as he only played a few ineffective snaps).

NFC Divisional Game vs. Minnesota Vikings

NFC Championship Game vs. Green Bay Packers

The 49ers and Packers met in the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row, and for the 3rd year in a row, the Packers defeated the 49ers. The 49ers were battling multiple injuries in the game, including missing star wide receiver Jerry Rice. The lack of depth on offense showed throughout the game, as the offense generated just 3 points. The only touchdown of the game for the 49ers was Chuck Levy's 95-yard kick return for a touchdown. But by then, the Packers had a commanding 23-10 lead in the 4th quarter. With the loss, the 49ers finished the year at 14-4.

Awards and records

  • Steve Young, Led NFL, Passer Rating, 104.7 Rating [2]


  1. ^ "Organization". 1997 San Francisco 49ers Media Guide. pp. 5-23.
  2. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 450

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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