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. After the 0-3 start, however, the Jets would catch fire, and go on a 10-2-1 run, and would ultimately finish the season with a record of 10–5–1 and qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1969, breaking a 12-year drought. In the playoffs, however, they fell to their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, 31–27.