IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett was almost never the head coach in Dallas after serving as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator for former coach Wade Phillips in 2007.
Garrett was widely reported to have been offered the head-coaching job in Jan. 2008 for the team the Cowboys will travel to face after the bye week.
With Phillips unlikely to be vacating the top coaching position at the time, Garrett interviewed in various cities before the 2008 season, with Baltimore as the likeliest destination. Garrett said the Ravens ran their organization well from top to bottom, and he enjoyed his experience interviewing for the job.
"They've had a track record of winning there for a number of years," Garrett said. "They've been very successful. When I was playing with the Giants in 2000, we played them in the Super Bowl. Since that time, they've been one of the best franchises in football."
Despite his admiration for the Ravens' organization, including owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome, Garrett eventually decided to return to Dallas with the additional title of assistant head coach.
He remained in that position until midway through the 2010 season, when he became the interim head coach of a 1-7 Cowboys team and went 5-3 down the stretch.
The interim tag was removed in his first full season as the Cowboys' head coach last year, and now for the first time since leaving his interviews in Baltimore, Garrett will make a trip back to play the team that nearly became his employer.
Baltimore eventually chose former Eagles special teams and defensive backs coach John Harbaugh for the head-coaching job in 2008. Harbaugh has compiled a 47-21 record since taking over, reaching the postseason every year.
"They're really well coached, and they've got a lot of good players," Garrett said. "You think about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and those guys, those are marquee players, those are first-ballot Hall of Famers, the best players at their position of their generation. Those guys have been the leaders there for a long time. They do things the right way. I was very impressed."