The 1999New York Jets season was the 40th season for the team, and the 30th in the National Football League. The team tried to maintain or improve upon its 12–4 record from 1998. An injury to starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde in the season's opening game essentially doomed the Jets' chances at title contention for the season. Still, the team managed to finish with a record of 8–8 in what turned out to be their third and final season under head coach Bill Parcells.
Testaverde suffered a ruptured Achilles' tendon in the opening game, and was one of three Jet starters to have their season ended by injuries. In the same game that Testaverde was injured, kick returner and running back Leon Johnson tore two ligaments in his knee. Then later in the season against Denver, linebacker Chad Cascadden tore ligaments in his knee trying to make a tackle.
Due to Testaverde's injury the Jets were forced to use three different quarterbacks during the season. Parcells initially used punter Tom Tupa to replace Testaverde in the opening game against the Patriots, but pulled him before the end of the game in favor of Rick Mirer. Parcells had acquired Mirer, a top draft pick in 1993 that had largely been unspectacular as a player, in the offseason and traded Glenn Foley, a popular Jet backup, to the Seahawks. That move was roundly criticized by New York media, especially when Mirer only won one of his first five starts. Parcells finally benched Mirer after the team's seventh game; although Mirer led the Jets to a victory over the Arizona Cardinals, he only managed five touchdown passes in six starts with nine interceptions.
With the team at 2–6 Parcells went to Ray Lucas to start, despite Lucas being used largely as a special teams player and having never made a start prior to the 1999 season. Parcells reminded the Jets that a seventh loss would most likely eliminate them from playoff contention and warned his players to avoid it. Lucas led New York to two victories in a row, but losses to Indianapolis and the New York Giants left the Jets with eight losses and eliminated them from further contention. However, the Jets did not lose a game after their loss to their inter-stadium rivals and beat three playoff teams down the stretch; these games consisted of a sweep of their division rival Miami Dolphins, a win against the Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium, and a final week defeat of the AFC West champion Seattle Seahawks.