Even though the 1983 Redskins won the NFC Championship but lost Super Bowl 18 to the Los Angeles Raiders in a blow out I believe they are the best team the Redskins have ever had in the Super Bowl era. The only other team that I would consider would be the 1982 Redskins that did win Super Bowl 17 over the Miami Dolphins because they were better defensively but the 1983 Redskins had a dominant offense, one of the best ever scoring something like 540 points.
The 1983 Redskins blew teams away and also playing one of the toughest schedules, that any team has ever had to play just to get to the Super Bowl, in the NFC East alone, playing the Dallas Cowboys twice and the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Cardinals that were still competitive. Playing three conference finals teams in the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers, Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. Playing the Anaheim Rams (as I called them) twice in 1983 including in the NFC Playoffs, playing the Atlanta Falcons that were in the NFC Playoffs in 1982.
The Redskins played a lot of playoff teams in 1983 and still won 16 games including in the NFC Playoffs and lost 3 including the Super Bowl. They also had some close games but those games were against playoff teams, including against the Cowboys twice. The 1983 Redskins were also in a bunch of shootouts as the game against the Raiders would indicate. Because even though their run defense and pass rush were still very good the pass defense slipped a bit because they were working in people like rookie corner back Darrel Green who’s in the Hall of Fame and safety Ken Coffey. But offensively they were much more explosive.
Super Bowl 18 against the Raiders where the Redskins lost 38-9, the score is a little misleading. I’m not saying the 1983 Raiders didn’t have a great team, because they obviously did if you look at their team, their head coach Tom Flores, where they ranked in the NFL and who they beat. But the Redskins made some key mistakes in that game, first on defense trying to cover Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch who I believe should be in the Hall of Fame with a rookie CB Darrel Green, they should’ve double teamed Branch the whole game at least on post routes.
And on offense when the Raiders were playing 8-9 Man Fronts on defense, with the Redskins consistently trying to run and getting nowhere against those fronts they should’ve thrown the ball against them short routes worked the tight end throw Screen Passes, to both tailback Joe Washington and work TB John Riggins in the pass offense as well when they couldn’t use him in the run offense. And the late in the first half when they were trailing 14-3 deep in their territory instead of throwing that (infamous) screen pass to Joe Washington that worked for a long TD against the Raiders in the regular season they threw that same pass but it was picked off by linebacker Jack Squirek for a TD making the score 21-3. Because the Raiders defense saw that same play and remembered it and saw it coming. They should’ve tried to run out the clock instead.
I’m not saying the Redskins would’ve beaten the Raiders in Super Bowl 18 had they had a better game plan but without that INT in the first half for a TD, it’s probably 14-3 Raiders at the half. And the Redskins scored a TD to start off the 2nd half but got the extra point blocked. This should’ve been a 14-10 game Raiders leading in the 3rd quarter with the momentum with the Redskins. Their defense feeling recharged thinking they are back in it. Super Bowl 18 should’ve been one of the best Super Bowls of all time, had the Redskins had a better game plan instead of a 38-9 blowout as it was.