The 1981Detroit Lions season was their 52nd in the league. The team failed to improve upon their previous season's record of 9–7, winning eight games. The team missed the playoffs for the eleventh straight season. In spite of that, halfback Billy Sims continued to play solid football, amassing 1,888 total yards in total offense while scoring a team-high 14 touchdowns. However, the Lions finished in second place in the NFC Central with an 8–8 record.