Coleman: '83 team was better than any of WFT's Super Bowl teams

Monte Coleman

For 16 straight seasons beginning in 1979, Monte Coleman proudly wore the Burgundy and Gold. During that stretch, Coleman was a part of many successful Washington teams, including three Super Bowl-winning squads.

On Wednesday, Coleman joined 106.7 The Fan's BMitch & Finlay to celebrate Washington's 1991 Super Bowl-winning team, as Jan. 26 marked the 30-year anniversary of Joe Gibbs and co. hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. 

Naturally, having been a part of three title-winning teams, Coleman was asked which of the three was the best. The linebacker took a different approach to answer the question, saying the 1983 team was the best he had ever been a part of, despite that squad not winning the Super Bowl.

"That was the best football team I've ever played on in '83," Coleman said. "We just rolled through people, but we were cocky."

That last part of Coleman's statement proved to be pivotal. Washington was coming off its first Super Bowl title the year prior, and the linebacker felt the team was "complacent" when they took the field in 1983. 

Yet, despite Coleman feeling that way, Washington was dominant in 1983. Gibbs' squad went 14-2 on the season, with both of the team's losses coming by just one point. Washington would defeat both the Rams (51-7) and the 49ers (24-21) in the playoffs before facing a tough then-Los Angeles Raiders team in the Super Bowl.

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"We were roasting people that year. Going back to back, that meant something to us," Coleman said. "We just got complacent, I believe. We were a better team. Actually, when we went into the first Super Bowl in '82, we were underdogs to the Miami Dolphins. Then, we come back with the Raiders, we were favorites. We were a good football team."

Unfortunately for Washington, the Raiders completely dominated in Super Bowl XVIII. The Raiders were led by Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, who finished with 191 rushing yards and two touchdowns in LA's 38-9 victory.

After that blowout loss to the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII, Washington wouldn't make it back to the NFL's biggest stage until 1987. But when Washington did return to the Super Bowl, Coleman said the team had a mindset where they felt nobody was going to beat them.

"We weren't going to let another team beat us," Coleman said. "Regardless if it was the playoffs, the regular season, the Super Bowl, we weren't going to let anyone beat us. We had a mission and we stuck to it."

Initially trailing 10-0 to the John Elway-led Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, Washington responded by scoring 35 points in the second quarter en route to a 42-10 blowout victory. Quarterback Doug Williams turned in a historic performance, throwing for 340 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Timmy Smith had an exceptional game as well, rushing for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the victory.

Of Washington's three Super Bowl-winning teams, the final one -- 1991 -- is viewed by many fans as the most special of the bunch. Coleman feels the same way.

In 1991, Washington went 14-2 in the regular season and cruised to playoff victories over the Falcons (24-7) and Lions (41-10) on the way to Super Bowl XXVI. Washington's dominance didn't stop in the Big Game, either, as the Burgundy and Gold jumped out to a 24-0 lead over the Bills. Buffalo would tack on a few scores at the end of the game, but Washington would win its third Super Bowl with relative ease, knocking off Buffalo 37-24.

"The '91 team was very, very special. That was a special team," Coleman said. "I don't even think coming into the year we knew we were going to go to the Super Bowl. We knew once we started playing, we had the potential to make it. And, we did, of course."