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1997 NFL Season
78th season in the history of the National Football League
When a team fakes a punt and throws the ball downfield, pass interference will not be called on the two outside defenders who are actually trying to block a coverage man from getting downfield and might not even know the ball has been thrown.
In order to reduce taunting and excessive celebrations, no player may remove his helmet while on the playing field except during timeouts, between quarters, and in the case of an injury. Violating the rule results in a 15-yard penalty. This is known as the "Emmitt Smith rule" after the Dallas Cowboys' running back's habit of taking his helmet off every time he scored a touchdown.
The Atlanta Falcons added new striping on pants, and switched from black to red numbers on the white jerseys.
The Baltimore Ravens switched to a new numbers style with shadows in the back. White pants were worn with their purple jerseys instead of black pants.
The Cincinnati Bengals started to use a brighter shade of orange on their uniforms. A secondary logo featuring a leaping tiger was added to the jersey sleeves, and another secondary logo with Bengal's head was also introduced.
The Denver Broncos introduced new uniforms, changing their primary color from orange to navy blue, and their royal blue helmets to navy blue. The design featured a streak running down the sides of both the jerseys and the pants: orange on the blue jerseys and blue on the white jerseys. The "D" logo with the horse coming out of it was retired in favor of a horse head with blue outlines and an orange head.
The Green Bay Packers reduced the number of stripes on the arm sleeves from five to three.
The Jacksonville Jaguars switched from block numbers to a new style font, and added black side panels to the jerseys.
Miami Dolphins introduced new uniforms featuring a darker shade of aqua and new shadows in the numbers. The dolphin in the helmet logo was also darkened and resigned to give it a more serious expression.
The New York Jets discontinued wearing green pants with their white jerseys, and wore white pants for all games regardless of their jersey.
The Pittsburgh Steelers switched from block to rounded numbers on the jerseys, matching the number font on the back of their helmets. A Steelers logo patch was also added to the left side of all jerseys, as an alternative to "fixing" the traditional "missing" logo on the helmet's right side. To celebrate the team's 75th anniversary season, the Steelers introduced 1960s-era throwback uniforms with black jerseys, gold numbers and helmets, and white pants.
The Philadelphia Eagles added the eagles head logo to the white jersey sleeves (they only did it to the green jerseys in 1996)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced new uniforms, changing their primary color from orange to red, and their white helmets and pants to pewter. Black and orange became trim colors. They also replaced the "Bucco Bruce" helmet logo with a red wind-swept flag featuring a white pirate skull and crossed sabres similar to a Jolly Roger.
The relocated Tennessee Oilers began wearing an alternative logo on the left side of all jerseys that combined their oil rig derrick logo with elements from the flag of Tennessee.