The 1981BC Lions finished in third place in the West Division with a 10–6 record.
Joe Paopao had an excellent season with 3777 yards passing and 28 passing touchdowns and running back Larry Key had 19 touchdowns in a bounceback season after missing most of the 1980 season due to injury. Wideout Ty Gray had a breakout season with 1428 yards receiving.
The Lions beat Winnipeg in the Wester Semi-final, but fell to the Eskimos 22-16 in the Western Final when Warren Moon hit Brian Kelly for a late 4th quarter touchdown. The Western Final included a game changing officiating error involving a Devon Ford kickoff return for a Lions touchdown when the officials incorrectly stated he stepped out-of-bounds. Television replays showed he clearly did not step out-of-bounds (video replay was instituted 25 years later in 2006).