With the versions for PC and 32-bit consoles having moved into the realm of real 3D graphics, Madden NFL 97 on Super Nintendo retains the classic view of the series, updating it with different features and options compared to the Genesis release.
The game features the 30 regular NFL teams of the 1996 season and the 1996 All-Madden team. Further teams are available as unlocks - winning the Super Bowl with a regular team gives a code for a classic team of the same franchise, and some special hidden teams also exist.
Playing modes are exhibition, a full season and playoffs including the Super Bowl. In seasons and playoffs, any game can be either played or simulated (with the exception of the Super Bowl, which must be played). Quarter length can be set from 3 to 15 minutes. All 30 team's stadiums are available for selection, with changeable weather conditions for the open fields, including fair weather, wind, rain, snow and even night games. Further options are two skill levels (Pro and All Madden), freely definable audibles, eight different penalties that can be set to different levels, player fatigue, injuries and substitutions. Play calling mode can be set to a bluff mode, offense and pass catching can be set to manual or automatic, and there is an instant replay feature. Player records and season/playoff progress are saved via battery.
The game also features player creation and trading. Player creation features tryout mini-games. 13 events in all must be accomplished to determine a player's stats, including running, an obstacle course, following coaching directions, passing, tackling, etc. All events can be practiced individually.
Multiplayer is available via multitap for up to five players, who can play against each other or on the same team. The player using the first controller always calls plays and controls the quarterback, while the remaining players control other players on the field.