The 1986New York Jetsseason was the 27th season for the team and the 17th in the National Football League. It began with the team trying to improve upon its 11–5 record from 1985 and return to the playoffs under head coach Joe Walton. The Jets finished the season with a record of 10–6, qualifying for the top Wild Card spot in the playoffs despite losing their last five games of the season. They defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round, but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round. The loss to the Browns is infamous in Jets history. Leading 20–10 in the 4th quarter, the Jets collapsed when Mark Gastineau hammered Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar seconds after he released a pass; Gastineau was flagged for roughing the passer and the Browns rallied to force overtime and win early in the game's second overtime.
The Week 3 game against Miami was memorable as Ken O'Brien and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino fought a wild shootout that culminated in the Jets winning 51-45 in overtime. Marino threw for 448 yards and six TD passes while O'Brien accumulated 479 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception for what would statistically be the best game of his career.