Fresh off their Super Bowl XVII victory over the Miami Dolphins, the Washington Redskins put together the best record in the National Football League at 14-2 and then easily marched back to the NFL title game with their biggest challenge coming in the NFC Championship Game. The Redskins allowed the fewest yards in the NFL during the 1983 season and set a league record for most points in a season with 541 yards. Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Theismann was the unanimous choice for MVP capturing the AP, PFWA and NEA Most Valuable Player and the AP Offensive Player of the Year Awards after throwing for more than 3,700 yards and 24 touchdowns. Washington running back and reigning Super Bowl MVP John Riggins rushed for 1,347 yards and a league leading 24 touchdowns and wide receivers Art Monk and Charlie Brown added another 13 TDs. The defense, led by All-Pro defensive end Dexter Manley, All-Pro defensive tackle Dave Butz and rookie DE Charles Mann and CB Darrel Green, terrorized quarterbacks and offensive lines, punishing running backs and limiting them to a mere 1,239 rushing yards. They went 12-2 through the regular season, then destroyed the Los Angeles Rams 51-7 in the Divisional Playoff and squeaked past the San Francisco 49ers 24-21 in the NFC Conference Championship Game. The AFC was represented by the Los Angeles Raiders, formerly the Oakland Raiders, who had relocated to the City of Angels prior to the 1982 season. The Raiders and the Dolphins tied for the best record in the AFC at 12-4, and Oakland went on to take out the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-10 in the Divisional Playoff and then the Seattle Seahawks, who eliminated the Miami Dolphins, 30-14 in the AFC Conference Championship Game. Oakland still fielded many of the veteran that captured Super Bowl XV including future Hall of Famer quarterback Jim Plunkett, All-Pro wide receiver Cliff Branch and newcomer and future Hall of Famer running back Marcus Allen as well as All-Pro tight end Todd Christensen. The Raiders scored the third most points in the NFL and led the AFC in points with 442. They also employed a huge and menacing defense of future Hall of Famers defensive end Howie Long and linebacker Ted Hendricks and All-Pro defensive end Lyle Alzado and All=Pro linebacker Rod Martin, who set a Super Bowl record the previous year with three interception, among others.
Super Bowl XVIII was played on January 22, 1984 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida – the first time Tampa played host to the Super Bowl. Game conditions at the start of Super Bowl XVIII were ideal, and that turned out to be the best part of the Redskins day as the Raiders came out and relentlessly pummeled Washington sacking Theismann six times and forcing three turnovers. The Oakland defense put a stranglehold on Theismann, Riggins and Monk and never let up for 60 minutes. On Washington's first possession, the ‘Skins went three and out and were punting from their own 30-yard line. Raiders defender Derrick Jensen blocked a Jeff Hayes punt and recovered it in the end zone for the first score of the games. They then scored on a 12-yard pass from Plunkett to Branch in the second quarter. Washington kicker Mark Moseley put the Redskins on the board with a 24-yard field goal, but then linebacker Jack Squirek intercepted a Theismann pass, running it in for another score to give the Raiders a 20-3 lead at the half. To begin the second half, John Riggins scored on a 1-yard rush, but hat is where Washington scoring would end. Oakland, on the other hand, kept rolling as Marcus Allen rushed for two touchdowns and a Super Bowl-record 191 yards – breaking Riggins record of 185 one year earlier. To cap off the scoring, Oakland kicker Chris Bahr kicked a 21-yard field goal giving the Raiders the 38-9 victory in Super Bowl XVIII. For his record setting efforts, Marcus Allen was named the Super Bowl XVIII Most Valuable Player. Allen became the third former Heisman Trophy winner to be named MVP along with teammate Jim Plunkett (Super Bowl XV) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (Super Bowl VI). This was the highest winning score in Super Bowl history at 38-9, which topped the previous point differential held by the Green Bay Packers from Super Bowl I when they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.