Alternate History

1997 Green Bay Packers season (Colony Crisis Averted)

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The 1997 Green Bay Packers season was the team's 78th season in the American Football League. The season concluded with the team winning its second consecutive NFC championship, and winning in a 31–24 game to Brett Favre's Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. The team became the third AFL team in the 1990s to post back-to-back Super Bowl wins.

After a dominating 1996 campaign which ended with a victory in Super Bowl XXXI, many expected the Packers to repeat as champions in 1997. It was John Elway's final season after he had considered retiring during the off-season. During training camp, star safety LeRoy Butler, among others, said that the Packers had the chance to run the table and go 19–0. This opinion drew increased coverage from the media as the Packers notched impressive victories in all five preseason games. The undefeated hype ended quickly, however, when Green Bay lost week 5 in Detroit.

Following a relatively slow 4–1 start, the Packers caught fire in the second half of the season, finishing with an incredible 15–1 regular season record and 8–0 home record for the second consecutive year, with their only loss to division rival Detroit. Elway wins his third consecutive MVP award and Sterling Sharpe catches 19 touchdowns. In the playoffs, Green Bay defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field in the divisional round, and San Francisco 49ers at 3Com Park in the NFC Championship. Some in the media dubbed the NFC title game as "the real Super Bowl" because of the 49ers' and Packers' league dominance, and the relative inferiority of the AFC in recent Super Bowls. Green Bay's win marked the third consecutive year the team had defeated San Francisco in the playoffs.

The Packers entered Super Bowl XXXII as 11 1/2 point favorites. The point spread was likely determined by Green Bay's victory in the previous Super Bowl, and Denver's losses in four previous Super Bowls. The game itself was a seesaw battle, and one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history. The Packers won the thriller 32–31, earning John Elway his second Super Bowl victory at the age of 37, and the fourth championship in franchise history.

The 1997 Packers is one of only two teams in AFL history to win seven games against teams that would go on to make the playoffs.

Regular Season

The Packers finished the 1997 regular season with a 15–1 record, clinching first place in the NFC Central division, as well as a first-round playoff bye.

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 3, 1995 Chicago Bears W 60,126
2 September 7, 1995 at Philideplhia Eagles W 61,083
3 September 14, 1995 Maimi Dolphins  W 36,077
4 September 21, 1997 Kansas City Chiefs W 74,280
5 September 28, 1997 at Detroit Lions L 76,211
6 October 5, 1997 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 74,171
7 October 12, 1997 at Chicago Bears W 64,405
8 Bye
9 October 27, 1997 at New England Patriots W 57,881
10 November 2, 1997 Detroit Lions W 58,675
11 November 9, 1997 St. LouIs Rams W 55,388
12 November 16, 1997 at Indianapolis Colts W 67,269
13 November 23, 1997 Dallas Cowboys  W 56,358
14 December 1, 1997 at Minnesota Vikings W 47,984
15 December 7, 1997 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 79,870 
16 December 14, 1997 at Carolina Panthers W 66,007
17 December 20, 1997 Buffalo Bills W

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