The 1981New York Jets season was the 22nd season for the team and the 12th in the National Football League. It began with the team trying to improve upon its 4–12 record from 1980 under head coach Walt Michaels. The Jets sputtered early, starting 0–3 and (combined with the previous season's 4–12 finish) fueling a quarterback controversy and altercation between quarterback Richard Todd and sports writer Steve Serby and speculation about Michaels' job. However, the Jets finished the season with a record of 10–5–1 and qualified for their first playoff appearance in twelve seasons. In the playoffs, they fell to their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, 31–27.