The 1981 NFL season was the 62nd regular season of the National Football League….which ended with Super Bowl XVI when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26–21 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan.
The 1981 NFL Draft was held from April 28 to 29, 1981 at New York City’s Sheraton Hotel….with the first pick selected being running back George Rogers from the University of South Carolina….as selected by the New Orleans Saints.
1981 was an NFL season that featured its share of tiebreakers which affected the playoff picture as Baltimore finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0)….then San Diego finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West based on better division record (6–2 to Broncos’ 5–3)…..as Buffalo was the second AFC Wild Card based on head-to-head victory over Denver (1–0)….while Detroit finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better record against common opponents (4–4 to Packers’ 3–5).
The 1981 NFL season also saw significant rule changes such as it became illegal for any player to put adhesive or slippery substances such as the product “stickum” on his body, equipment or uniform….as this rule is known as both the “Lester Hayes Rule” and the “Fred Biletnikoff Rule” ….since both players were notorious for using sticky substances to make it easier for them to intercept/catch passes…..plus, an offensive player who comes into the game wearing an illegal number for the position he takes must report to the referee before the start of the next play….along with the penalty for an ineligible receiver who touches a forward pass is a loss of down….while the penalty for illegal use of hands, arms, or body (including holding) is reduced from 15 yards to 10 yards…..and the penalty for intentional grounding was modified to loss of down and 10 yards penalty from the previous spot….or if the foul occurs more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, loss of down at the spot of the foul.
As seen in this video herewith….NFL Films host Harry Kalas provides narration of highlights from the entire 1981 NFL Season from start to finish…..which is MUST SEE TV for any and all NFL fans.