IRVING, Texas – On the 53-man roster, the Jets have just one player returning to face his former team in defensive lineman Stephen Bowen, a 10-year veteran.
When it comes to coaches, it's a different story, especially the ones at the top of the list.
The Jets come to town for Saturday's game with the head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator all having coached for the Cowboys at one point, including one of the eight head coaches in Cowboys franchise history.
Chan Gailey, who spent two years as the Cowboys' head coach from 1998-99, is New York's offensive coordinator, opposite Kacy Rodgers, a Cowboys assistant coach from 2003-07, who runs the Jets' defense. But the headliner is head coach Todd Bowles, a former Cowboys' defensive backs coach from 2005-07.
In his first season leading the Jets, Bowles has his team at 8-5 and battling for playoff contention.
Before the 2007 season, Bowles actually interviewed for the Cowboys' head coaching vacancy as one of the in-house candidates. The job was eventually given to Wade Phillips after a lengthy search that includes names such as Mike Singletary, Norv Turner, Jim Caldwell and even Jason Garrett.
Bowles later went on to Philadelphia, Miami and Arizona before getting the Jets' head coaching job this year. However, he said he learned some of his more valuable coaching lessons while here in Dallas.
"I thought I had some of my best times I've had probably was in Dallas in coaching," Bowles said this week. "And Jerry (Jones) taught me quite a bit away from football."
While not getting into great detail, Bowles recalled a conversation he had with Jones about family and business and said part of that conversation has helped him gain perspective that he uses even today.
"I know there was a symposium and Jerry spoke at and I asked him a question about how does he keep his son so close business-wise and travel-wise and everything like that," Bowles recalled. "And he gave me a story that helped me in life with my sons and as far as keeping them close to me and everything else and I'll never forget that as long as I live in coaching. They've always been very good to me."
One might think Gailey wouldn't have similar comments, considering he was fired after two seasons with the Cowboys, who made the playoffs both years.
This week, Gailey told NFL Nation about his time in Dallas, stating the perception of Jones and Gailey clashing often wasn't the case.
"He's a hands-on guy," Gailey said. "He's probably the most hands-on guy I've been around as far as an owner goes. It was different, but he was not unfair. He didn't come in and change meetings. All those horror stories you heard, they're not true. He treated us well and allowed me to do my job. It just didn't work out."
[embeddedad0]As for Rodgers, he was the defensive tackles coach under Bill Parcells from 2003-04, and then held the title of defensive line coach from 2005-07, staying one season on Phillips' staff before heading down to Miami, where he spent the previous seven years before joining Bowles in New York this season.
Under Bowles and Rodgers, the Jets have the No. 1 rushing defense in the NFL, allowing just 78.9 yards per game.