The 1971New York Jets season was the 12th season for the team and the second in the National Football League. It began with the team trying to improve upon its 4–10 record from 1970 under head coach Weeb Ewbank. Disaster struck before the regular season ever started and it was a remarkable feat the Jets were able to finish 6–8–0. Joe Namath was injured in a preseason game against the Detroit Lions and would require knee surgery, All-Pro WR George Sauer unexpectedly retired at the peak of his career, and All-Pro defensive End Verlon Biggs exercised his option and signed with the Washington Redskins. After missing 19 straight games in 1970 and 1971, Namath returned to action against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter (November 28, 1971) and would throw for 358 yards and three touchdown's in a 24–21 loss. He then started the final three games and the Jets won two of those.