Coach Joe Gibbs expressed unhappiness yesterday about the National Football League's scheduling the Dallas Cowboys as the first 1983 regular-season opponent for the Washington Redskins.

The Cowboys game, on Sept. 5 in RFK Stadium, is one of three Monday night games the defending Super Bowl champions will play during the 16-week schedule.

Gibbs said the Redskins specifically asked the NFL in 1981 not to schedule Dallas for their 1982 opening game after facing the Cowboys in two straight openers. "We took it for granted," Gibbs said yesterday, that the NFL would remember that request when drawing up the 1983 schedule.

"We made some requests this time but that wasn't one of them," said Gibbs, whose team also will play Monday night games at Green Bay on Oct. 17 and at San Diego on Oct. 31. "I guess we should have done it. We did ask them if they would space out our three West Coast road trips. We didn't want them bunched up."

Gibbs always has been pessimistic about schedules, and his reaction this time was no exception. "Can't make one much tougher," he said, but it was the Dallas opener that had him most concerned. The Redskins Gibbs Is Unhappy With NFL Scheduling Dallas as Opener By Paul Attner Washington Post Staff Writer

Coach Joe Gibbs expressed unhappiness yesterday about the National Football League's scheduling the Dallas Cowboys as the first 1983 regular-season opponent for the Washington Redskins.

The Cowboys game, on Sept. 5 in RFK Stadium, is one of three Monday night games the defending Super Bowl champions will play during the 16-week schedule.

Gibbs said the Redskins specifically asked the NFL in 1981 not to schedule Dallas for their 1982 opening game after facing the Cowboys in two straight openers. "We took it for granted," Gibbs said yesterday, that the NFL would remember that request when drawing up the 1983 schedule.

"We made some requests this time but that wasn't one of them," said Gibbs, whose team also will play Monday night games at Green Bay on Oct. 17 and at San Diego on Oct. 31. "I guess we should have done it. We did ask them if they would space out our three West Coast road trips. We didn't want them bunched up."

Gibbs always has been pessimistic about schedules, and his reaction this time was no exception. "Can't make one much tougher," he said, but it was the Dallas opener that had him most concerned. The Redskins haven't played Monday night football since 1980, and they've never made three appearances in the same season. Washington also plays the New York Giants on national television Saturday, Dec. 17.

Last year, Gibbs and his players were upset because they had no Monday night or national television games.

The Cowboys-Redskins matchup had been a Monday night favorite. The 1978 game remains the highest rated in the history of Monday night telecasts, and the 1980 season opener ranks No. 7. Last season, the Redskins advanced to Super Bowl XVII by beating Dallas in the NFC title game at RFK.

"The Dallas game will be a great challenge for the team and our fans," Gibbs said. "It will be a psychological thing. We will see if we can get back to the same emotional high that everyone had in the playoffs . . . I felt we would get one Monday night game, maybe two, but three? This could be a bigger test than when we were 0-5 two years ago."

Teams, including Washington, knew their 1983 opponents as soon as the 1982 season ended. But they had to wait until yesterday, when the NFL released the schedule, to find out the dates and order of those games.

In the aftermath of their Super Bowl triumph, Redskins officials have been bracing for the worst from the NFL schedule makers, who make a practice of showcasing the defending league champion. Considering they could have faced a mixture of Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night games, along with the normal Sunday fare, the Redskins made out decently, despite the three Monday appearances.

Gibbs is concerned about his team's three West Coast trips. The Redskins will be in Seattle on Sept. 25, in San Diego for the Monday game Oct. 31 and in Los Angeles for a game against the Rams Nov. 20.

There is an asterisk attached to part of the schedule. The games against St. Louis (Oct. 9 in St. Louis and Nov. 6 in RFK) could be flip-flopped, depending on whether the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team is in the playoffs.

The Redskins play nine games against 1982 playoff teams, including two each against Dallas and St. Louis. Their Dec. 4 game against Atlanta in RFK will match Gibbs against his former assistant head coach, Dan Henning, now the Falcons' head coach. And, of course, the game in San Diego will mark Gibbs' return to the site of his last assistant's job before he moved to the Redskins in 1981.

"This is going to be a new experience for us," Gibbs said. "We will be coming into the season as targets. Everyone will be shooting at us because we are Super Bowl champs. We can't be considered underdogs anymore. We will have to react to a different threat."

The Redskins will enter the Dallas game with an eight-game winning streak, including four straight playoff victories. They have won 15 of their last 16 games and 20 of their last 24.